U.S. Treasury Secretary: Signing Agents Are Part Of ‘Essential Services’ During COVID-19 Emergency
By David Thun on March 24, 2020
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin issued a statement this week clarifying that all workers — including Signing Agents and mobile Notaries — who provide services in the nation’s financial and other essential critical infrastructure may continue to perform their duties. At the same time, Notaries must still follow all guidelines issued by federal, state and local authorities to protect public health, maintain appropriate safety precautions and should not accept assignments if there is risk of spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The federal guidance was welcome news for Signing Agents during the critical end-of-the-month period when most mortgage loans are closed and signing agents are in high demand.
In his letter dated March 22, Secretary Mnuchin clarified that workers in critical sectors of the financial industry — including workers and key third-party service providers for “settlement services,” such as Notary Signing Agents — should be allowed to continue normal operations and work schedules.
“These individuals are critical to maintaining safe and efficient financial services and ensuring citizens have access to these services that are necessary to conduct their daily lives,” Mnuchin wrote. “If you work in a critical infrastructure sector, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”
However, he added, essential workers must also comply with guidelines issued by organizations such as the Center for Disease Control, state and local officials to protect public health. Notary Signing Agents should check official sources and their contracting parties to stay informed about any guidelines in place in their area, and only accept assignments that comply with these official health safety instructions. When on assignment, Signing Agents should continue to follow recommended COVID-19 health and safety precautions.
The Notary Bulletin will continue to provide critical updates on changes to notarial practices procedures as they occur amid the COVID-19 crisis.