SASKATOON -- Realtors will be allowed to start holding open houses again, but with COVID-19 safety measures in place.

The Saskatchewan Realtors Association (SRA) says now that a date has been set for the third phase of the provinces reopening plan, the organization believes open houses can safely begin again.

“I’m really impressed by the performance of our members during these times…they’ve gone above and beyond to protect those buyers and sellers who really needed to move or find a home,” SRA CEO Jason Yochim, said in a news release.

“Many of the measures that will be in place are already common-practice for those times when a buyer really needs to see a home before they make a purchase, so our members are well-prepared to manage a visit safely.”

The new health and safety criteria include disclosure surveys and contact information records to aid in contact tracing in case someone tests positive after attending an open house.

Only two people will be allowed inside at a time and will be expected to sanitize, not touch anything, wear shoes and/or disposable booties and maintain physical distance.

Before it's their turn to enter, potential buyers will have to wait outside in their cars or in a line-up while staying distant from each other.

The SRA says the decrease in economic activity due to COVID-19 dealt a softer blow to the province's real estate than was originally projected.

Early estimates on the impact to the province’s real-estate market projected a 75 per cent decline in sales. But in April, stats showed an average decrease of around 50 per cent.

“The economic impact to the market was better than we expected but still pretty tough on many of our members,” said Yochim in a news release.

“I am quite confident the markets will improve – there is a lot of pent up demand out there for both buyers and sellers who held off while the pandemic was in full swing.”