REIQ coronavirus fast facts
24/08/2020 Update: As a result of increased cases of COVID-19 in Queensland, new social gathering restrictions have been implemented. Details of the new restrictions can be found here. For more information about what these restrictions mean for real estate, read our full update here. At current, the REIQ is seeking further clarification of these restrictions and how they apply to open home inspections and auctions. If your real estate business is operating under a COVID Safe plan, you are unaffected by the latest restrictions. This includes business operating under a COVID Safe Industry Plan, COVID Safe checklist, COVID Safe Site Specific Plan or COVID Safe Event Plan. We will be updating this page with more information when it becomes available.
Understandably, the COVID-19 crisis is creating extreme uncertainty for REIQ members and the wider real estate profession, affecting how business should be done and unsettling individual staff. The REIQ remains focused on the health and safety of its members, staff and local communities across Queensland and are monitoring and responding to the situation as it evolves daily.
In this article you will find a comprehensive information regarding COVID-19 to assist real estate professionals in the management of what is understandably a very unpredictable situation at this time, as well as address many of the questions you may have.
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FAST FACTS: COVID-19
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus with symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath. Anyone experiencing emergency signs such as difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or bluish lips or face should immediately seek medical attention.
What is the risk of exposure to the coronavirus?
Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions such as heart or lung disease or diabetes may be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. QLD Health urges monitoring your health and practice social distancing. Social distancing means staying out of crowded places, avoiding group gatherings and maintaining distance (at least 1.5 metres) from others whenever possible.
What preventative measures may be taken to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19?
QLD Health recommends individuals take the following measures to protect themselves and others:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
- Practice respiratory hygiene, covering your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, disposing of the tissue immediately;
- Practice social distancing by staying out of crowded places, avoiding group gatherings and maintaining distance (at least 1.5 metres) from others whenever possible;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick;
- Stay home if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath or any other cold or flu-like symptoms;
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and,
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
REIQ AND BUSINESSDEPOT WEBINAR
In this webinar, businessDEPOT’s John Knight along with REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella share what you can do in your business. Topics include:
- What to do in your business to make it better prepared and more financial resilient for uncertain times.
- The human and team element of business and how this links to the financial side of things.
- The opportunities for your business from this ‘crisis’.
- The government stimulus available to your business.
FAST FACTS: RESTRICTIONS ON GATHERINGS
Effective from 24 July 2020, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer has further relaxed the restrictions around businesses and gatherings pursuant to Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction (No. 5)‘, which can be viewed here. The Queensland Government’s Roadmap to Easing Restrictions states that office-based workers can return to their place of work. Social distancing and good hygiene practices are still mandatory, and contact information must be kept about all guests and staff for contact tracing purposes for 56 days. This information includes name, address and mobile phone number. The REIQ has developed an Information Collection Notice and Information Collection Form to assist in this process.
Day-to-day real estate operations may be unaffected and member agencies are taking proactive steps to ensure activities conducted both in and out of their offices are safe for people to attend. QLD Health advises that you remind attendees (including staff) not to attend if they are feeling unwell or were overseas in the past 14 days, among other measures (for more information, see QLD Health’s FAQs here).
FAST FACTS: WHO’S AT HIGH HEALTH RISK FOR CONTRACTING COVID-19?
Those most at risk of serious infection include:
- People with compromised immune systems (such as people who have cancer);
- Elderly people;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (as they have higher rates of chronic illness);
- People with chronic medical conditions;
- People in group residential settings; or
- People in detention facilities.
FAST FACTS: PROMOTING HYGIENE
Personal hygiene is an important protection against COVID-19 and all respiratory illnesses – this includes washing hands regularly. REIQ members may wish to consider including the promotion of hygiene protocols as part of their sales and marketing collateral for all upcoming meetings and private inspections. It is critical to communicate openly with both clients and customers about the status of your operations, what protective measures you’ve implemented and how they (as customers) will be protected when they visit your agency or a private inspection hosted by you. Promotions may also help incentivise clients and customers who may be reluctant to reconsider attending. In addition, you may wish to consider placing posters in your office for your staff as hygiene reminders in the workplace.
FAST FACTS: SELF-ASSESSMENT & REPORTING
Follow the current guidelines on daily self-assessment and reporting as provided by Healthdirect’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom Checker (here). If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical assistance by calling your medical practitioner in advance and follow their advice on how to seek diagnosis and treatment. Please stay alert for revised guidelines on self-assessment and reporting from health professionals as well as from QLD Health.
Do you have any of the following symptoms of COVID-19?
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other colds and flus and include:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
While COVID-19 is of high concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying these symptoms are likely suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness – not COVID-19.
What do I do if I develop symptoms?
If you develop symptoms within 14 days of arriving back in Australia or within 14 days of last contact with a confirmed case, you should arrange to see your doctor for urgent assessment.
You should telephone the surgery or hospital before you arrive and tell them your travel history or that you have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. You must remain isolated either in your home or a health care setting until public health authorities inform you it is safe for you to return to your usual activities.
For further support and advice relating to your individual circumstances, REIQ members can contact our Property Management Support Service or our Agency Advice Service via phone on 1300 697 347. Not a member? Join online here.
The REIQ recommends members to only consider the advice provided by government agencies and official health experts when considering and implementing any COVID-related workplace health and safety policies. In this toolkit, we will share best practice hygiene tips and answer frequently asked questions about COVID-19. The information in this guide is of a general nature only and is not a substitute for advice provided by a government agency or from a qualified medical professional and/or legal practitioner. Any references to third party products and services do not represent an endorsement of any kind from the REIQ and we recommend that you conduct your own inquiries to confirm their suitability to you and your compliance requirements. The information contained in this guide is based on advice from health authorities relevant at the time of writing and we recommend that agencies continue to monitor advice from Government on a regular basis given the fast evolving nature of this issue.