During COVID-19 outbreak are garage sales allowed?

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Updated: May. 14, 2020 at 6:16 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Well, with all the time off many East Texans have had some took time to clean out the house. But to get rid of that stuff are people having garage sales? Can you? Should you shop at one? What about estate sales? What can you expect in The Next Normal?

I found it’s a little tough to find a garage sale right now, in fact, the Spring Highway 80 sale held every third weekend in April was canceled this year. But there are some out there like one at Estes Parkway and Loop 281 in Longview.

Estate sales are also hard to find, and according to Amanda Hight who handles estate sales in East Texas, many just aren’t happening at all.

“Having the general public, now that things are opening back up, come into a home, a private home and touch everything is the main issue,” Hight said.

She says she has shut down since early March. Since then she’s had a few requests for estate sales, including one where the homeowner died of COVID-19.

“One of the things the family said was the CDC was going to come pick up the mattress and some other personal items, and I just wasn’t interested in coming into a house with all the unknowns,” Hight stated.

And she said clients don’t have to specify what a homeowner died from.

Longview City Spokesman Shawn Hara says as far as sales at homes:

“The governor’s executive orders don’t specifically mention garage sales, so it’s one of those where it’s really, you need to use your best judgment, as to how we’ve been addressing it,” Hara said.

And that’s how many cities have been handling it.

Hara advises to keep everything as sterile as possible and maybe even clean things before you pick them up should you find a sale and purchase something.

“Everything’s just uncertain at this time,” Hight stated.

And keep in mind items at a garage sale could have been handled many times before you pick them up. And, of course, there’s the issue of passing cash around.

“I love doing estate sales. People love coming to the estate sales, but right now we’re just bowing out and not doing any right this second until we know more about it,” Hight said.

Oh, and that Longview garage sale? It goes on from Thursday to Sunday, and when I showed up a few hours after it began they said I was the first person that stopped by.

The City of Lufkin says they don’t regulate garage sales but advise to follow the governor’s guidelines for public shopping. Before you hold a garage sale you might want to check with your local city or county guidelines.

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