Translated from Portuguese with Google Translate; (automatic; not revised).
As many say out there if someone has a time machine and wants to visit any year, go to anyone, but don’t waste time with 2020.
Public Notary services are considered essential, so we don’t even close for a day. We have tried to adapt to serve all customers safely and respecting each person’s comfort zone. As in any crisis, we always learn and improve, this pandemic could not be different. I believe that in my industry we had an evolution in terms of technology that if it weren’t for COVID-19, it would take another 5 years to take effect.
Due to COVID-19, British Provincial government agencies and the BC Notaries Society are allowing for the first time the virtual signature of purchase, sale, refinance and even wills and personal planning documents. Note that it is not a digital signature, where you can sign electronically, it still requires the person to have paper documents in front of them and sign them during a video conference with their legal representative.
Each person has his or her comfort zone in relation to the risks he wants to take. During this pandemic, we try to accommodate each person, as the person does not always have the technology available, but needs to complete legal documents. Therefore, we sign documents with many customers in the comfort of their own car. We did a kind of “Drive-thru”, where I went to the client’s car with the documents to be signed, I stayed outside the car explaining each document while the client signed. That was more at the beginning and today people seem to be more comfortable entering the office to sign the documents.
As a good Brazilian, it is difficult not to be able to greet customers “properly”. This business of wearing a mask and keeping 2m of distance leaves the professional / client relationship even cooler and more distant. This is something that was hopeless, we cannot compromise security. I think it will be a matter of getting used to the new normal and trying to create this approach with just words. Some customers joke that they don’t know if they will recognize me on a next visit where I am without a mask!
Flávia Zancope is the owner of Vancouver’s Zancope Notary Public.