VANCOUVER — Real estate agents across British Columbia are being asked to temporarily stop holding open houses in an effort to curb the rise of COVID-19.
The recommendation comes from the regulatory agencies overseeing B.C. real estate professionals as well as the provincial association representing agents.
Erin Seeley, the CEO of the Real Estate Council of B.C., said in a statement that real estate agents should use virtual tools to protect clients.
British Columbia reported a record of 425 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to 16,560 across the province.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says a rise in cases was anticipated as people moved indoors during colder months.
The request to temporarily end open houses follows an order last week by Henry to limit the size of gatherings in private residences to the immediate household plus their so-called "safe six."
Health Minister Adrian Dix called on residents to follow those orders.
"When it comes to house parties and gatherings, the message is simple: don't throw them, don't go to them," he said Thursday.
Henry urged residents to follow the guidelines laid out by her office as doing so would allow businesses and schools to remain open.
"It is incredibly important that we manage this increase effectively," said Henry.
As the number of novel coronavirus cases rises in B.C., people in long-term and acute care facilities are being placed at a greater risk, Henry said.
She said there were two new outbreaks in long-term care centres, bringing to 30 the number of active outbreaks in B.C.'s health-care system.
More than 500,000 doses of the flu vaccine have been administered so far this year, Dix said, with the number expected to rise significantly.
Earlier Thursday, police in New Westminster announced a man has been charged with three counts of violating the Quarantine Act after returning from the United States last month.
New Westminster Police said 47-year-old Makhan Singh Parhar was arrested Monday on allegations he repeatedly left his home despite being told of the mandatory requirement to isolate for 14 days.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 5, 2020.