For Association Executives: FAQs
Updated on March 18, 2020
The C.A.R. Spring Business Meeting and Legislative Day will be transitioning to a virtual meeting, using online video conferencing, from April 28 to May 1. Select committees and the Board of Directors will meet online.
The Leadership of C.A.R. has made this decision following careful consideration, with the benefit of much thoughtful input from Directors and Committee Members, and with optimism that we will all continue to support each other during the difficult and uncertain times ahead.
We will provide further updates soon to let Directors and Committee Members know about the plans we are developing so that the Association’s essential business activities and policy decisions can still be addressed.
Should our Association cancel upcoming scheduled classes and events?
If the Association has in-person events planned in the near future, the Association should consider canceling the events. On March 15, 2020, the CDC recommended that events consisting of 50 or more persons be canceled, postponed or be made virtual, which was followed by President Trump’s announcement on March 16, 2020, recommending that individuals avoid groups of more than 10 people for the next 15 days. For events taking place in the near future that do not fall within the CDC’s recent recommendation or President Trump’s announcement, the Association should consider the feasibility of holding the meeting or event virtually in order to limit in-person contact as much as possible. In all cases, Associations should continue to monitor updates from the CDC, as well as state and local health authorities for the most up-to-date additional information and guidance on holding events in your geographic area. (Source: National Association of REALTORS®)
Additionally, residents in six Bay Area counties have been ordered to “shelter in place” at their place of residence and only essential businesses are allowed to remain open.
What protocol is C.A.R. taking to adhere to the guidelines of various government entities?
During this time of uncertainty, we continue to support and care for our members. The safety and well-being of our volunteers and staff are a top priority, and as such, C.A.R. has suspended all non-essential business travel for volunteers and employees until further notice. C.A.R. is continuing to monitor the situation, and we will communicate further updates as necessary. NAR also has suspended all non-essential travel — international and domestic — by staff and volunteers traveling on behalf of NAR until April 11 or until further notice.
Additionally, all staff positioned to do so are being encouraged to work from home until at least March 31, and perhaps longer. During this time of uncertainty, we will continue to provide exceptional customer service and provide support and care for our members.
We continue to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and follow the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other government entities globally.
What precautions should Associations take in the workplace?
The CDC urges individuals to practice social distancing by avoiding close contact, so Associations should seriously consider alternative work arrangements for employees, such as maximum flexibility or mandatory remote work, and holding virtual meetings.
Employees should follow CDC guidelines to protect themselves and others by:
Washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Practicing social distancing by staying out of crowded places, avoiding group gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.
Avoiding close contact with anyone who is sick.
Staying home if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath or any other cold or flu-like symptom.
Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or coughing or sneezing into your sleeve.
What best practices should Associations follow for those employees working from home?
To prepare staff, distribute the Association’s business continuity plan so staff is aware of and familiar with the Association's policies and practices in the event they are unable to report to work or the Association must conduct its business remotely. Consider scheduling a trial run in which all staff work from home for a "test" day to ensure the Association's plan and systems are functioning properly. (Source: National Association of REALTORS®)
What else should Associations consider in handling the coronavirus?
First, implement a mandatory "stay-home" policy for employees exhibiting any signs of illness and decide whether your staff will need to use "sick days" for the time off or be allowed to work remotely if they are well enough to do so. The CDC recommends that employers not require a healthcare provider's note for employees to return to work, since healthcare providers are inundated during this time. In addition, consider a policy that allows staff to stay home to care for sick family members and children, and to work as they are able, and be sure to communicate that policy in advance.
Second, provide staff with regular and clear updates on how the Association is responding to this issue, and be sure staff knows where to address any questions or concerns.
Finally, do not panic, stay informed and use your best judgment. The situation is rapidly changing, so focus on putting policies and procedures in place to keep your employees informed and safe, and to avoid business disruption. (Source: National Association of REALTORS®)