March 23, 2020

What the Governor’s Emergency Order Means for REALTORS®

As you are likely aware, this evening Governor Inslee issued a statewide “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” emergency order to further limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The order will be effective for at least two weeks, and requires that people remain in-home, except for certain necessary personal activities like grocery shopping or obtaining health care. The order also designates specific “Essential Critical Infrastructure” operations that are not subject to the order but must observe social distancing, based largely on recent federal guidelines from the Department of Homeland Security.

The Governor’s release states “Business closures must happen 48 hours after Gov. Inslee signs the order. Many businesses can, and should, continue using telework.”

Real estate businesses are not included in the “Essential Critical Infrastructure” designation, but can remain in operation using electronic and remote functions. While we are disappointed that our request to be included in this designation was denied, Washington REALTORS® remains in ongoing communication with the Governor’s Office and state agencies to ensure that real estate and associated business services can continue in operation. We will seek clarification of the Order and necessary flexibility so that real estate operations can continue while observing the Governor’s Order and social distancing guidelines. For example, immediately after announcing the Order, the Governor’s Office communicated to us that escrow services can likely continue as a necessary financial service.

The Governor’s Office has also committed to appoint a member of his staff to work with us to address consumer and industry impacts.  We need input from REALTORS® as to the most critical issues facing you and your clients over these next few weeks – such as ensuring that sales now under contract can close, and additional steps to enable remote and electronic real estate services.

Please send us your thoughts on the most critical issues to address, via email at

This information is based on preliminary review of the Order, and will likely be modified as additional clarification occurs. Washington REALTORS® deeply appreciates the innovation, leadership, and compassion being demonstrated by our members during this difficult time. Look for more information tomorrow morning.

Kitty Wallace, WR President

Steve Francks, WR CEO