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Real estate businesses to resume

HARRISBURG — Real estate sales and related activity can resume across Pennsylvania if guidelines designed to limit infection are followed, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Tuesday.

The governor’s new guidance says people in the real estate industry can get back to work as long as they all wear masks or other facial coverings, and use separate vehicles to drive to visit properties.

Business that is conducted in person must be scheduled ahead of time and limited to no more than the real estate worker and two people inside a property at a time.

Property showings will have to be scheduled at least 30 minutes apart, and food will be prohibited during in-person real estate business activities.

Parts of transactions that can be performed electronically or otherwise remotely should be done that way, Wolf said.

In other coronavirus developments Tuesday:

Restaurant reopening bills

The state House cast divided votes in favor of two bills that would reopen restaurants under certain conditions in the yellow or green phases but not the most restrictive red phase areas of Pennsylvania’s reopening map.

Republican supporters said positive trends in new infections made it safe to act, while Democratic opponents argued the legislation will put people’s health at risk.

One bill would allow outdoor seating only; the other would permit indoor seating at 50% of normal capacity.

“This can be done in a safe manner, should be done in a safe manner,” said Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming, the bills’ prime sponsor.

Early rebates

Pennsylvania began issuing property tax and rent rebates Tuesday, more than six weeks ahead of schedule, to get cash in the hands of eligible older homeowners and renters and people with disabilities.

The state treasurer’s office typically sends the payments in a single batch in early July. The state issued 111,000 payments on Tuesday and expects to send 60,000 each week thereafter, Treasurer Joe Torsella said.

The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians ages 65 and older; widows and widowers ages 50 and older; and people with disabilities ages 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters.

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