A top Remuera real estate agent is barred from his office because he is unvaccinated.
The Government does not require real estate agents or managers to be vaccinated, even though they can enter people’s homes.
Roy Champtaloup of Megan Jaffe Real Estate, trading as Ray White Remuera says it is no one’s business if he’s been vaccinated.
He is also offended anyone would ask if he is vaccinated: “It’s like me saying ‘have you got syphilis?’ Why should people ask about their personal health information?”
Jaffe, agency principal and owner, said of the 100 staff at her Remuera Rd office, only seven were not double vaccinated.
She won’t let people who are not vaccinated into her office because she says she has control over her own premises and has made that decision for good reasons.
“If people don’t get vaccinated, it affects their economic engine and they can’t come into the office,” said Jaffe, a former nurse whose husband is heart surgeon Warwick Jaffe.
Jaffe said she was fully vaccinated and took anti-pandemic measures extremely seriously, asking every staff member about their vaccination status and adhering to industry guidelines by demanding sanitisation and PPE measures.
Alex Tilbury, a spokesperson for Ray White’s head office, cited the Real Estate Institute’s vaccination fact sheet, saying: “the industry body that we are members of will be fully supporting their stand, the Real Estate Authority and the Government.”
The Government has set 90 per cent vaccination targets.
The authority said it aims to “support the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved in real estate transactions and to prevent and limit the risk of spread of Covid-19, and to respond to the highly infectious nature of the Delta variant”.
REINZ says agency bosses “cannot require staff to be vaccinated”.
But it refers to bosses encouraging staff to do so and giving time off for that. A vendor could refuse to let an agent into their home if they’re not fully vaccinated, REINZ says. Tenants can do the same with unvaccinated managers.
Tilbury said the Government had not “mandated” all agents to be vaccinated but industry discussions had been held involving REINZ on the topic.
An authority spokesman said discussions were going on between REINZ and the authority over vaccination. The Herald understands both entities are pushing for agents and managers to have mandatory vaccinations, given they enter people’s homes.
Champtaloup is a licensed salesperson with the authority. He has no current listings after last month returning from an extended European summer holiday where he sailed the Greek islands.
He has been one of the agencies’ top-selling agents but says he has no direct or personal contact with clients because he is living in the South Island. He has been working over the phone only.
On July 1, he left for London and Greece, returning to New Zealand last month for a fortnight’s MIQat Auckland’s Waipuna Hotel.
He is based in Arrowtown where he has been for the past month but hopes to return to Auckland in the next few weeks because his family home here is being sold.
He has been an agent for 18 years and said had sold many millions of dollars of properties in Remuera, regularly listed as a “premier performer” and “elite performer” from 2013 onwards.
“I’ve got a strong point of view on vaccination. People are just tuning in to what they see and hear. They’re being bombarded with cases daily recorded and announced by the Government.”
Asked about being barred from his Remuera office, he said: “If anybody is going to keep people out of their offices because they haven’t succumbed to this ridiculous mandate, then I’m not interested in going into the office.”
Champtaloup, 63, said he had suffered from pleurisy and pneumonia last year.
“I probably had Covid-19, although I’ve never had a positive test,” he said.
He has a mask-wearing exemption via a doctor’s letter because of his health conditions and said he didn’t wear masks on any flights to or from Europe.
Jaffe said she did not hold an opinion about the seven unvaccinated staff members at her agency but she said she had fielded “dozens” of calls from vendors inquiring about staff vaccination status.
The agency’s sales figures remained strong for the year, she said, but she is concerned about other agencies’ vaccination positions.
“They’re not all being responsible. I know other agents who are not masked or wearing PPE gear when they visit properties,” she said.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a sweeping vaccine mandate in businesses in the hospitality sector and others including gyms, barbers and hairdressers where customers are expected to have vaccine certificates.
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