It is no more news that the current outbreak of COVID-19 has become a point of concern, causing panic and unrest all over the world. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has warned the world to look out for symptoms like cough, fever, and shortness of breath. While most people are losing their jobs, some are getting sick, and the world is practically on lockdown. Despite that, you don’t necessarily need to avoid moving to your new home as you don’t have to be scared of it if you are careful.
All through the pandemic and changing effects of the Coronavirus, we still have to maintain normality to some extent. This implies that people can still relocate, and students still need to move as colleges close. Some business owners are even seizing the opportunity of lockdown to move their offices or stores without affecting their businesses. Although social distance has been the course of action to adhere to till further notice, however, relocation is something that needs to be done without delay, but with utmost measure.
Do you need to know how to move during a pandemic, and also if moving companies are still available? Continue reading as we share some of the tips we received from the Center Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), the World Health Organization, as well as our contacts at the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) on preventive measures to take while moving to a new home.
Are Moving Companies still operating during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Want to know if movers are still moving during this period? Yes. Even though many businesses have shut down, and everyone is expected to stay in their home in many states, there is still a need for some people to relocate. In some cases, moving is mandatory and cannot be left for another time because:
- you’ve already started the relocation process,
- your lease is probably ending,
- you are moving to start a new job, or
- you are finalizing the purchase of a new home.
Although some moving companies have experienced a reduction in patronage by customers, others, however, have experienced a rise in moving demand; it all depends on your location.
Movers are still operating and are still working very hard in all states. Some states consider moving companies as essential services and thus allowed them to operate inasmuch as they comply with the social distance guideline, as advised by the CDC. None of the states has restricted moving services from operating, even in places with the strictest guidelines such as New York City where commercial vehicles are still allowed to move freely. The only difference here is the customer experience, regular hand washing among movers as well as avoidance of physical contact between clients and movers.
What about Storage Services and Moving Truck Rentals?
Similar to moving companies, popular storage companies and moving truck rentals are still operating. The only downsides to expect are reduction in the accessibility hours or reduction in the number of customers that may access their unit at a time. Storage companies and moving truck rentals are also expected to practice proper hygiene, proper sanitizing of access pads, and also make sure there are spaces between customers, customers, and employees.
10 Tips for Moving Safely during a Coronavirus Pandemic
You are not the only person that is confused about how to move during this COVID-19 lockdown. This is a situation that warrants the WHO and CDC to give recommendations on all issues. However, the American Moving and Storage Association have suggested some useful tips to make your move as smooth as ever even during this pandemic.
Below are some of the hints.
#1 Inform your Moving Company of any of your Family Showing Symptoms of COVID-19
Keeping everyone safe in this period requires transparency. Your movers will still help you move in most cases, but they will also take some preventive measures, most especially for their workers’ safety. Make sure you inform your mover of your self-isolation if you have been exposed to the virus so that they can put some preventive measures in place.
#2 Carefully Research your Movers
It is important to thoroughly vet the moving company you plan to hire for your move, not just about how careful they can be with your fragile items, but also relevant questions about coronavirus. Make sure the moving company you plan to hire will put on gloves while handling your possessions, and they will also haul your belongings in a cleaned and sanitized moving truck. Also, make sure you ask the moving company owner the steps they take in testing the health status of their employees to know if there are any COVID-19 related symptoms. You don’t want to hire a mover with a sick employee that is coughing all over your belongings.
Below are some of the questions you can ask:
- Did you notice any symptoms in recent weeks?
- Have any of your close associates fallen ill?
- What are the health and safety measures you plan to take during the relocation?
You should be in good and safe hands if you always communicate with them, and ask them the right questions.
#3 Avoid using Free or Recycled Moving Boxes
A report has shown that COVID-19 can survive for as long as 24 hours on cardboard, so you don’t want to pick up free moving materials from recycling centers for now. You can use the boxes you have in your home, but if you need additional boxes, you need to go out and buy the new one, as you can’t trust the condition of any free moving box.
#4 Sanitize your Belongings
It is essential to sanitize your belongings after being touched by people while moving. Carefully pack your belongings and make sure the boxes and bags are properly sealed whether your move is local or interstate. Before you bring each moving boxes into your new home on arrival, make sure you have them cleaned. Do not hesitate to leave any item you feel like in the garage as your priority is to keep yourself and the household safe.
Here are other hints to keep your items sanitized:
- Use plastic to wrap furniture and get rid of the plastic immediately you get to your new home
- Seal your possessions in boxes and bags (get rid of the boxes and bags after arrival at the new home)
- Put on gloves and face masks when you are unpacking
- Wash hands more often
- Ask your house movers to put on face masks and gloves
#5 Maintain a Safe Distance
Maintain a safe distance from yourself and the moving crew all through the move. Not that we assume that your moving crew has the virus. This is, however, one of the best ways; social distance is the new order in this time of crisis. Make sure the distance between you and the mover when talking is about six feet or more. This is not only to protect yourself but to also prevent the virus from transmitting and also protect the public. Spreading of coronavirus will be prevented when you keep a safe distance as recommended by various health organizations. This can also be done all through your move.
#6 Give your Movers Hygiene Products
Make sure you provide products to your movers to use while they move your belongings on and off the moving truck to help them in maintaining hygiene practices. Items such as paper towels and soap should be kept by the sink, as well as hand sanitizer placed beside the entry and exit doors. Inform your moving company on what they have to bring along to ensure there are enough supplies all through the move.
#7 Get Ready to clean your New Home Thoroughly
Your new home is probably in a clean condition by the time you get there. But be prepared to thoroughly clean the place as you never know the germs left behind by the previous occupant of the property. Typically, hiring cleaners for the job is the best, as it will save you time and effort; however, considering the current situation, hiring a cleaner is not advisable as it is a means of inviting other strangers into your home, exposing you the more to the virus. In this case, it is better to gather rags, supplies, and clothes, and get ready to thoroughly clean all surfaces of your new home before you unpack.
#8 Wash your Hands More Often
You should be prepared to wash your hands more often all through the move. You should make sure your hands are frequently washed regardless of who is doing the move, whether you or you hire a moving company. Also, avoid touching your mouth or face. Be cautious of your actions as you may not always be around water and soap.
#9 Put on Face Mask and Gloves
This might sound stupid, but you should always put these on. Make sure your movers also do the same. One of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to wear gloves and a face mask. During the move, you will be interacting with your movers and also touch many items. So a great and beautiful idea is to put on a mask and gloves for protection. You should be cautious of the health of others as you protect yourself. The purpose here is to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
#10 If you belong to the High-Risk Group, Postpone your Move if you can
What category of people are we talking about here? Those that are over 60 years of age or have respiratory and cardiovascular issues prior to COVID-19 should have a rethink about moving. There is no point in risking your life to move, so check if you can reschedule your move and do it at a more convenient and safe time. Do not tarry before you cancel your moving services if you plan to. It is better to inform your movers of the cancellation earlier. You can contact your moving company to discuss your options and procedures for cancellation before you actually do it.
Steps being taken by Moving Companies in this COVID-19 Pandemic
There are many numbers of steps being followed by moving companies to reduce the spread of coronavirus while relocating, and this includes recommended steps by AMSA. Make sure you ask your movers what step they are taking to mitigate the risk of being infected. Among the preventive measures being practice by some professional movers to manage COVID-19 risk include:
- Using alternative means to greet customers instead of handshakes
- Issuing virtual moving estimates rather than physical estimates
- Usage of face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer during relocation
- Social distancing or keeping at least six feet space from clients
Below are other comprehensive ways moving companies are keeping you safe all through your move.
- Virtual Video Surveys: Replacement of the normal on-site moving surveys with virtual video moving surveys is one of the most important steps moving companies are taking to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. They don’t need to enter your home before they determine your moving or storage requirements. The video technology eradicates the need for a person-to-person time while you still receive an accurate moving quote.
- Social Distance: The implementation of social distance protocols is one of the most important steps a mover can take. The moving crew will stay at least 6-feet away from customers after they arrive at the destination home and avoid handshaking or touching.
- Complex In-House Sanitation: The majority of movers are expanding housekeeping and sanitation for businesses and stores. This includes restrooms, door handles, keypads, and countertops. They also don’t entertain unimportant visitors.
- Changes to Scheduling of Staff: Moving companies are mitigating the risk of spreading the virus by making employees work on shift to reduce crowding of office space. Moving crews are also given supplies like hand washing materials and gloves as they go to their moving site.
- Checking Movers and Customers’ Health: AMSA advised that you inform your moving company if any of your close associates have shown symptoms of coronavirus or they are isolating themselves after exposure. The circumstances will determine if the mover will carry on with your move or postpone it to reduce the risk of exposing crew members and other clients. Your mover may also contact you before your move to ask about your health condition or if you’ve interacted with someone exposed to coronavirus. The majority of movers may also perform wellness tests on moving crew members. The moving companies instructed team members who feel ill or have come in contact with an infected person to stay away from work.
Make sure you check the list of states that are currently on lockdown before you decide a move date. Currently, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Illinois, California, and Pennsylvania are on shelter-in-place, as well as many other cities and counties. You will be required to postpone your relocation if the restrictions affect your destination, and all moving parties should allow flexibility even if not convenient. However, if people are not restricted from moving around in your state, here are some things to think about:
Get ready to pay for deep cleaning from your deposit or closing costs
Finding cleaners right now is a difficult task, and even scary to invite them into your home. And it is almost impossible to embark on a DIY cleaning now as basic cleaning supplies are scarce and costly. And you will want to save any item you bought for use in your new home. You may want to beg your landlord to overlook the costs of hiring a cleaning company if you rent a home, but for home buyers, you and the seller will have to agree.
Update your Local Pharmacy Information with your Doctors
You will go through many difficulties if you fail to update your information with your local pharmacy, especially if you need to pick up your normal prescriptions or you are down with something, and you need to contact your pharmacy. Locate a pharmacy in your new area and update your records with them before you move in.
Update your Address, Including the One on your License as well as on File with the IRS
Although everyone is waiting to find out the form government aid will come, there is a need for those who have relocated to update their address with government agencies; both federal and local, to get whatsoever the government sent. This is also useful in the case of access to community resources and voting registration.
Locate the Nearest Hospital, Care Center, as well as Grocery Stores
Essential services will not be shut down even in stay-home places; however, they will be available with reduced hours and the controlled crowd. Although grocery seems most essential to everyone, it is essential also to locate the nearest hospital and emergency care to be ready for unexpected times.
Cancel your Moving Services if you feel Ill
You need to know there is a need for you to cancel your move if you feel ill at this time. The majority of moving companies will understand and make necessary plans with you considering your health. Note that you need to keep yourself and others safe. A huge part of that is knowing when you feel ill and getting the necessary treatment.
Is it Safe to relocate during the COVID-19 Epidemic?
Yes, you have no problem relocating during the coronavirus epidemic as long as you followed the recommended steps on handwashing, social distancing, and other guidelines. Both moving companies and consumers have recommendations from the American Moving & Storage Association to keep them safe during coronavirus. The AMSA advised consumers to postpone their moves if they have flexibility even though moving can be safe and essential during coronavirus pandemic.
The association on its guidelines on coronavirus says your health and that of your family is important. Schedule your move after the coronavirus epidemic is over if you belong to the high-risk group or you are over 60 years of age. Note that moving companies are rated low-risk for the transmission of COVID-19. Movers generally provide moving help to a maximum of two consumers daily and always ensure social distancing all through the move.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I am trying to limit contact with movers, how much of my relocation can I handle myself?
It is understandable that individuals and families wish to minimize contact with movers during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to handle a lot of the moving process yourself.
For instance, you could buy packing supplies and box up most of your belongings without help from anyone outside your household. Any items you do not want to take on your move can be thrown, donated or sold.
Then you can hire movers for the sole purpose of loading and unloading those boxes, along with your heavy furniture and appliances. You can easily maintain a distance during this process, while it should not take them more than an hour for an apartment or a couple of hours for a larger house.
How much do I need to clean my possessions after the movers drop them off?
One of the best ways to limit the need to clean your belongings after a relocation is to pack them properly. Ensure all boxes and suitcases are closed tightly so there are no openings. Then you only need to wipe them down on the outside with a cloth that has disinfectant or bleach on it.
Furniture and appliances should be boxed up or wrapped in bubble wrap or blankets. Remove the outer layer of all these items in one room, then wipe them down and transport them to the various places in your home where they reside.
The final step is to dust and vacuum your entire home after everything is put in its place, while you may want to open up the windows to air out your rooms after the movers leave.
What is the best face mask to protect myself while interacting with movers?
If you are concerned about catching coronavirus or infecting movers, it is a good idea to invest in an N95 mask. These are the most protective, as they keep out droplets and airborne virus particles.
Even with such a mask, it is important to maintain six feet distance whenever possible, as it further lowers the chance of catching or passing on the virus.
If you are unable to get an N95 mask, a surgical mask is a good alternative. You may also want to consider goggles to protect your eyes. For more information, visit the CDC website to understand coronavirus guidelines.
Do I need to self isolate if I am moving from one state to another during a relocation?
Whether you choose to self-isolate after a move is a decision that depends on your circumstances. If you socially distance during the process of loading and unloading your belongings, while you travel by car, you may not have much need to self-isolate.
Individuals who are taking trains or planes to their new city may want to consider self isolating for a few days and then getting a COVID-19 test. When you test negatively, you may feel more comfortable about venturing outside and interacting with other people.
It is always best to get information from the CDC website regarding self-isolation and testing protocols.
How much should I tip my movers if they do a great job?
Movers always expect tip if they do a good job while packing or loading your belongings. Considering the world is in the middle of a pandemic, you may want to show extra appreciation by tipping more than usual.
Consider tipping each mover $20 per hour they work, while you can tip even more if you live in an area with a high cost of living.
Just because coronavirus is threatening doesn’t mean your life should be on hold. Make quality decisions and be cautious, and then your relocation will complete smoothly. The smartness in moving during this pandemic is to follow all the standard pandemic guidelines carefully. You need to prioritize social distancing and sanitation all through the move. We strongly hope you find these tips helpful in understanding how you can safely relocate during the coronavirus pandemic and choosing the right moving companies from our network. Our hope is that you are able to use these tips to complete your move during this COVID-19 pandemic. Best of luck!