With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to wreck havoc on the U.S., National Association of Realtors President Charlie Oppler urged real estate professionals to wear masks and said he is encouraged by growing vaccination rates.

NAR President Charlie Oppler

Oppler published his remarks in a letter on NAR‘s website Friday. In the letter, he argued that real estate professionals “must remain diligent” and noted that “safety is paramount in everything we do, and that includes ensuring both our members and their clients are taking every possible precaution when showing properties.”

“Today, I am asking every Realtor and their clients to wear a mask and to continue practicing social distancing whenever possible,” Oppler continued. “Every opportunity to flatten the curve on the latest Delta Variant of COVID-19 is a step forward.”

Oppler went on to discuss vaccinations. He stopped short of explicitly ordering every Realtor to get a vaccine, noting that “we cannot mandate vaccinations.” But he also said that “we remain encouraged by increases in the vaccinated population.”

Though COVID-19 vaccines have been available for months now, data shows that the U.S. is currently in the midst of another coronavirus surge. In total, the outbreak has killed more than 635,000 Americans since it first began spreading rapidly in North America in March of 2020.

Credit: Google

In real estate, the early days of the pandemic were marked by an initial, brief slowdown, followed by surging demand as consumers looked for houses with more space and amenities. The result has been a year of low inventory and soaring prices. At the same time, common practices, such as open houses and in-person showings, have been disrupted in many places.

Oppler isn’t the only real estate voice that has recently pushed safety protocols. In July, the Durst Organization, a New York-based real estate empire, made vaccines mandatory for non-union employees. And in early August, Redfin told roughly 3,000 employees — including agents — that they would have to be vaccinated and masked if they planned on returning to the company’s offices.

Earlier this week, Keller Williams co-founder Gary Keller also used the opening moments of his company’s Mega Camp conference to advocate for vaccinations.

“COVID is not out of control,” Keller said at the event. “The lack of faith in vaccination is out of control.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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