Moving during coronavirus pandemic (covid-19)
What you should know
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has put a stop to the normal routines of everyday life both in The Netherlands and abroad. And while social distancing is the course of action to take until told otherwise, moves aren’t always something that can wait. How does moving during a pandemic work though, and more importantly—are moving services even still available?
Below, we’ll outline some of the biggest questions about moving during the pandemic in an effort to help the process be as stress free as possible. We’ll also share some of the tips provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Het Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM) on how to keep yourself and others safe during your relocation.
1. What is COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization, “COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.”
COVID-19 is not the first coronavirus, but rather a new strain in an existing group of coronaviruses that can circulate among both animals and humans. It is highly contagious and spreads from person-to-person through droplets from the nose or mouth, which is why social distancing measures are so important. As of the date of publication, there have been more than 50,400,000 cases and more than 994,000 deaths of COVID-19 in the world.
2. What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing, also referred to as “physical distancing,” is one of the best defenses that we have against the spread of COVID-19. The RIVM defines proper social distancing measures as requiring that you:
Limiting close contact with those outside of your immediate household mitigates the risk of coming into contact with COVID-19 droplets. These measures are particularly important in light of the fact that many carriers of COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning that they are carrying—and potentially spreading—the virus without awareness that they have it.
3. Is Moving Essential?
For many people, a moving date is not flexible. If you have a lease ending or if you previously sold or purchased a home with an upcoming closing date, it’s important that you have access to the critical services that can allow you to relocate. While cities in the world have ordered the temporary closure of “non-essential” businesses, moving is generally considered essential and moving service providers are currently operating in almost countries.
If you do have flexibility in your moving date, consider waiting—especially if youFc’re in a high-risk group. If you can’t postpone your move but are concerned about exposure, an option might be to move with your own vehicle or a rental truck, provided you’ll be able to lift and carry all of your belongings.
Note that the closure of non-essential businesses does vary by state, or sometimes even county or city. It’s possible that the orders are different in your locality, so it’s important to do your research. However, in cities where lock-down orders have been put in place, moving companies are so far considered to be essential, and are still in operation.
4. Are Moving Services Still Available?
At this point, yes. We have not seen any notable shutdowns of service among major moving companies. That being said, decisions about closures may be left to individual franchise owners. If you have already scheduled your move and haven’t heard anything, assume that your moving company is still providing services unless told otherwise, but still call just to confirm.
If you’re worried about moving during an pandemic for a move that is still upcoming and for which you haven’t scheduled movers, it’s hard to say what will and will not be available in the months to come. For now, continue to do research on companies and ask directly what steps are being taken when you reach out.
What has changed at this point is largely going to be related to the customer experience itself, including frequent hand washing among movers and no physical contact between movers and clients.
5. What About Storage Services?
Same as moving companies, major storage companies continue to run operations. What you might be able to expect however is limited hours of accessibility and/or a reduction in the amount of customers who are able to access their units at any one time. Storage companies should also be following proper hygiene practices, including sanitization of access pads and the requisite six feet or more of space between customer and customer and customer and employee.
6. Can I Still Rent a Moving Truck?
Major rental truck companies continue to be in service, as they are considered essential for transportation and personal mobility needs. Again, what may be different is the experience, since moving companies have put into place their own protocols for physical distancing. This means that your pick-up and drop-off location may not be at the branch office, and that you’ll have to make your reservation online or over the phone instead of in person.
7. Should I Move During COVID-19?
Sometimes a move is unavoidable. However, if you have any flexibility in your moving date, you are better off waiting to relocate until social distancing measures have been lifted. If you do not have flexibility, the next best thing that you can do is to work closely with your moving provider to learn what they are doing—and what you should do—to ensure the safest move possible.
Health and safety are always a top priority. If you are in a high-risk group, including those with pre-existing conditions like diabetes and asthma or those who are over the age of 60, consider postponing your move if you can or finding an alternate means of moving, such as using your own vehicle or renting a moving truck.
8. Does Someone Have To Come Into My Home to Provide a Moving Quote?
No. Moving companies are now offering virtual surveys instead of at-home surveys to provide you with a price estimate for your move.
9. I Have An Upcoming Move, Is It Still Happening?
If you have an upcoming move scheduled assume that it is still happening unless you have heard otherwise from your moving company. That being said, it is still a good idea to call and confirm. Get in touch with your moving provider as soon as possible to verify the status of your move and find out what precautions they will be taking.
Moving company cancelled but you still need to relocate at a set date? Reach out to other companies to check availability, or look into renting a moving truck and doing your move on your own.
10. What If I Want to Cancel My Move?
If you need to cancel a move due to COVID-19, contact your moving provider directly. Most moving contracts are non-binding, which means that you can cancel without financial penalty up to a set period of time prior to your service. If you provided a deposit, you’ll have to look at your contract to see whether or not you can expect it to be returned to you. Note that even if your deposit was non-refundable, there is a chance that your moving company will return it to you anyway due to the unique circumstances of COVID-19.
11. I’m Not Feeling Well, What Should I Do?
The first thing that you should do in regards to your move is notify your moving company. It’s crucial that your moving provider knows about the potential risk for their workforce so that they can adjust the sanitization and social distancing measures they have already put in force.
Your health and safety as well as the health and safety of your movers are the top priority. Transparency is very important for keeping everybody safe, and in many cases, your movers will still work with you. In addition to letting them know if you suspect the illness among yourself or a family member (or have a diagnosis), also let them know if you are isolating due to exposure, since the same risk mitigating steps should be taken.
Wear a mask and gloves while packing, and sanitize any items your movers will be handling directly (you can use standard antibacterial wipes or sprays, or make a homemade bleach solution). Try to have all packing done at least 24 hours prior to when your movers will be arriving, and store boxes in a closed room. When your movers arrive, stay as far away as possible, and continue wearing your mask and gloves.
12. What If I’m Moving By Myself?
The process of a DIY move looks pretty much the same now as it did before COVID-19, minus the ability to have a couple friends come over and lend a hand in exchange for pizza. Some additional things that you will want to do however include keeping hand sanitizer, soap, and paper towels accessible at all times, we well as making a detailed plan for both your departure and arrival.
If you rent, talk to your current landlord about how you can safely drop off keys and collect your security deposit, and talk to your new landlord about the process for a safe move in. Putting in a blueprint of steps ahead of time will help you maintain social distancing during your DIY move and answer any questions you might have about the process.
13. What Are Moving Companies Doing Differently?
Moving companies are taking the coronavirus pandemic very seriously. To that end, companies across the country have put into place protocols designed to protect their employees and their customers. These include:
All of these practices help ensure that moving services can remain available in a safe way. A virtual move estimate for example provides you with the same quote you’d expect any time you hire movers without the need to have someone enter your home.
14. How to Prepare For Your Move
We talk often about how important it is to have a plan for your move, and that goes double for a move during the coronavirus. You have to remain one step ahead to ensure that you have the right supplies (since you can’t be running back and forth to the store), and to ensure that you leave yourself enough time to pack and get ready for your movers.
To prepare for a move amidst COVID-19, be sure to keep the following steps in mind:
15. Important Tips for Moving During the Coronavirus Pandemic
If you’re not sure about protocols for moving during the coronavirus lockdown, you are certainly not alone. This is unprecedented territory that necessitates keeping up to date with recommendations provided by WHO and the RIVM. Here are some helpful tips for making your move go as smoothly as it can during the pandemic.
Being smart when moving during the pandemic requires that you follow all of the standard pandemic rules and apply them to your move. Social distancing and sanitization requirements need to be upheld while moving.
One silver lining is that social distancing means that you might have more time to devote to organizing your home prior to your move and getting rid of the things you no longer want or need. If you plan on donating items like clothing, linens, furniture, shelf stable non-perishables, etc., call the place that you would like to donate to ahead of time and see what their policies are. While many people are in need during this time, it’s likely not going be quite as easy as just driving to your nearest donation center and dropping stuff of (but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it).
Please stay safe during your move. We will be updating the site with new moving regulations or changes to the industry as they happen, so check back if you have additional questions about what to expect.
> Read more about packing and moving tips
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