Coronavirus | A guide for sitters

Paul - Head of Membership Services

If you have an upcoming sit during this time, it’s important that you follow government guidance on social distancing and sanitisation. All members are also asked to read the following guide on how to conduct safe and responsible sits right now.  

Keeping each other safe 

  • As with any sit, it’s vital that you communicate with the owner and make sure you’re both comfortable before confirming anything.
  • You must not accept an invitation from an owner if you have felt unwell or been around anyone with symptoms in the past two weeks. 
  • Likewise, if you have a sit planned and you begin to feel unwell, you should follow your country's advice and let your owner know as soon as possible — remember, communication is key. You can also contact our Membership Services team for further guidance.

Sitter confirmation

  • The impact of the coronavirus is causing many people to feel increasingly stressed and worried. All members are asked to bear this mind while talking to one another and are encouraged to be as understanding as possible. However, if you are made to feel uncomfortable in any way while talking to an owner, please do not confirm or continue with the arrangement. 
  • As usual, sitters are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the sit. Please make sure you’re able to find safe and suitable travel arrangements and have read the host country’s travel advice before confirming with the owner.
  • Make sure to also monitor both yours and the host country's local government updates regularly, as travel restrictions and advice are still subject to change. 
  • Sitters are expected to be completely independent once at the sit. This means they must not rely on the owner to provide anything other than the accommodation, such as financial help or health care. 

The sit handover

  • While owners are always asked to ensure their property is clean and comfortable for a sitter’s arrival, it’s more important than ever to thoroughly disinfect the accommodation. Equally, you must do the same before you leave. For this reason, all owners and sitters are asked to read and follow the official cleaning guidelines
  • Owners will adapt their usual sit handover process to remove any person-to-person contact. So while you may usually be greeted at the door or given a tour of the home, owners are advised to leave the keys in a safe place for you to find and then conduct a video handover instead. This, along with an up-to-date and thorough welcome guide from the owner, should be enough to help you settle in while keeping you both safe. 
  • However, in instances where this isn't possible (and you are permitted to meet with another household), you must follow social distancing rules as governed by the country you are in.
  • In these instances, if you can wear a mask, you should do so to further limit any potential spread. These steps should be discussed with your owner ahead of the handover, to make sure you are both comfortable before the sit takes place.

For more information and advice, please refer to our house sitting during coronavirus guide.

First-hand advice from experienced sitters

Vanessa Anderson and Ian Usher, long time members of TrustedHousesitters and the publishers of House Sitting Magazine have put together their tips for dealing with the booking of sits during uncertain times, along with best practices around staying safe, particularly during handovers. Be sure to read their advice here.

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