If you’re continuing with a 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
- 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.
- As with any sit, it’s vital that you communicate with the owner and make sure you’re both comfortable before confirming anything. However, in line with social distancing guidance, please ensure that this is done via video call (as opposed to meeting in person).
- 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, under no circumstances are sitters to pressurise owners into offering them accommodation.
- Members must not encourage or enable unnecessary travel during the coronavirus pandemic, as this may put people’s health at risk. For this reason, sitters are asked to only confirm a sit if it’s in their current location.
- 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.
- 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 participating in the Stranded Sitters project 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.
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.