TORONTO -- The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board is urging it realtors to stop holding open houses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, following a similar move by the Greater Vancouver Area board last week.

TRREB says that while the decision to hold open houses is up to realtors and their clients, the board will suppress information about the in-person showings on its listing system and website.

The board is encouraging realtors to use alternatives such as video and virtual tours to help limit public gatherings and slow the spread of the virus, as public health agencies have implored.

The Real Estate Council of Ontario, which regulates the realtor profession, has also recommended an end to open houses, except when "absolutely necessary," but has stopped short of banning them.

Last week, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver strongly recommended its 14,000 realtors not hold open houses based on comments from government authorities.

Both real estate boards have also waived a rule requiring listed properties to be available for showings.