Labour leader Keir Starmer has called for property viewings to be stopped during the current lockdown, a move that would severely restrict most sales and lettings activity as it did during March, April and early May.
Starmer used both house viewings and garden nursery businesses, both of which have been allowed to continue during the lockdown, as examples of business activities that were banned during first lockdown in March.
In answer to a question from the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg and others on whether restrictions should be tightened in the coming days and weeks, Starmer said: “We’re obviously in the most serious stage of the pandemic and therefore we have to face the most serious restrictions,” he said.
“I think there is a quite a lot more we could do including [considering’ whether nurseries should be open – I think a lot of people are surprised that primary schools must shut but nurseries remain open.
“Another example is that it is still possible, as I understand it, to go and view houses if you’re going to buy a house, as that wasn’t allowed last March.
“We are in at least as serious, if not a more serious position than in March of last year, [and yet] we’ve got fewer restrictions in place.
“I think we are going to have to look in the next 24 hours or so, what are the other measures that could be put in place, and hear from the scientists as to which of those that they think are more effective, and then all pull together and support those measures if they’re needed because the numbers are still, as everybody knows, heading in the wrong direction on.”
Although many agents would be unhappy to see property viewings banned, some agents have struggled with the moral and health issues caused by asking staff to attend appointments, and many agents worry it if it becoming too dangerous to operate their businesses on a face-to-face basis.