A real estate sold sign hangs in front of a west-end Toronto property Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

The province initially prohibited open houses back in April as the number of cases of the virus mounted but it later lifted the prohibition as regions entered Stage Three of its reopening plan, allowing business to mostly return to normal.

In the months that followed the real estate market in the GTA heated up and in September Toronto recorded its best month on record for homes sales with 42 per cent more transactions than one year prior. Prices also surged are now up 14 per cent year over year, despite the economic fallout from the pandemic.

The Ontario Real Estate Association, however, is now urging its members to stop hosting open houses and to again utilize “virtual tools to the greatest extent possible.”

In a statement issued on Friday morning, OREA President Sean Morrison said that the changes are necessary to “protect the health and safety of our communities.”

“Back in April, OREA called on the province to stop open houses during the first wave of the pandemic. I am proud that our association was the first to recommend a stop to all in-person business, including open houses – advice that the province later put into law as part of the State of Emergency,” he said.

“As we enter this second wave, we are once again asking the government to ban open houses province-wide until the pandemic becomes more manageable.”

In his statement, Morrison said that realtors should be advising clients to use “virtual open houses, virtual showings or in-person safe showings” only until the number of cases in Ontario go down.