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Foxtons estate agents to restart viewings – with masks, gloves and sanitiser

The estate agent will be encouraging virtual viewing but also allow physical viewings as long as staff are properly protected.

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Foxtons is planning to reopen this week (John Stillwell/PA)

Foxtons is planning to reopen this week (John Stillwell/PA)

Foxtons is planning to reopen this week (John Stillwell/PA)

Estate agent Foxtons is to reopen its doors this week with the aim of seeing all branches open again by June 1, and will restart physical house viewings, the company said.

Staff will be told to use hand sanitiser, face coverings and gloves when visiting properties.

The London-focused agent has been closed since lockdown, with the housing market temporarily suspended.

Foxtons said: “We will be bringing furloughed employees back to work on a gradual basis from the same date (June 1).

“We have undertaken comprehensive risk assessments at all of our branches as well as our head office in consultation with employee representatives.

“Each of our workplaces has now been modified to be in line with recent guidance issued by both the Government and Propertymark, the estate agency industry body.”

Branches will have social distancing procedures throughout, enhanced office cleaning, and Covid-19 training to “engage appropriately with customers”.

Each property viewing will be under “tightly controlled conditions with social distancing in place”, and customers will still be encouraged to view properties virtually first.

A number of employees will continue to work from home where it is possible to do so effectively, the company said.

During the lockdown, bosses revealed that commissions in the eight weeks between Monday March 23 and Friday May 15 were down 44% on the previous year.

However, lettings commissions were more resilient than sales commissions, down 40% and 61%, respectively.

In April. the company asked shareholders to dip into their pockets to raise cash for the business, after credit facilities with banks were stretched.

Foxtons said it would raise the £22 million from shareholders by selling an early 20% stake in the business.

The company said that, since the successful fundraiser, net cash balance excluding lease liabilities was £37.1 million in April.

It added: “It is still too early to predict what the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will be on Foxtons’ full-year results.

“There remains significant uncertainty over how long the London residential sales and lettings market will continue to be impacted by the pandemic.

“Nonetheless, the board is pleased with the resilience that the business has shown given such a disruptive backdrop.”

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