Pulling Off a Safe Move During the Coronavirus Pandemic

in Help Me Now!, Moving on by
Young woman struggles to figure out how to pull off a safe, stress-free move in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

Most people probably wouldn’t choose to move from one home to another in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, but unfortunately enough, a lot of us renters have no choice but to do just that. You might be changing jobs, bound by family responsibilities, or even have had the move finalized before the crisis arose — whatever your reason for changing residences is, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s actually pretty easy to take the necessary precautions ahead of time and make the move as safe and healthy as possible for you and your family.

Make the Health and Safety of Your Family Top Priority

First and foremost: no move is worth putting your family in danger for. If you or a family member suffers from respiratory or cardiovascular conditions or otherwise has a compromised immune system, it’s best to put off the move until the pandemic has subsided enough not to put yourselves at risk. People over the age of 60 are also more susceptible to contracting the virus, so a move postponement might also be a good choice if one of your loved ones falls into this category. The CDC website keeps vital information like this updated regularly, so be sure to check there for all the latest health recommendations.

If anyone in your household is in self-isolation after exposure to, or has been diagnosed with, the coronavirus, contact your moving company immediately and try to reach an amicable agreement for rescheduling.

Look for Moving Companies That Minimize Interaction

Before social distancing was even a common term, many moving companies were evolving into entities that diminished human contact. Unlike movers of the past who often packed your items for you and were very hands-on and socially interactive, the 21st century has introduced us to companies that just drop off empty containers at certain addresses, no interaction required. You make all payments and selections online or by phone, pack the container yourself, and let them deliver it to the location of your choice. And don’t worry, only you will have access to the container, since they usually have you use your own lock and key for security.

Quiz the Movers on Their Procedures

You probably wouldn’t question the health and safety practices of your moving company under normal circumstances, but given the current situation, it’s become absolutely imperative to do so. Ask all prospective movers about their coronavirus policies and practices, as well as other important facts that may affect your final decision.

Ask if they estimate the costs of the job virtually or digitally. Find out if all their movers carry hand sanitizer, protective masks, and surgical gloves. It’s also important to know how they sanitize their trucks between moves so you have no chance of picking up someone else’s germs. The same applies to the blankets they use to protect furniture, and the dollies they use to move boxes out of your old place and into your new home or storage facility. Ask how and how often they disinfect the high-touch areas on the interior and exterior of the truck. Inquire as to how often they take their employees temperatures, or ask if anyone in their households has experienced symptoms that may be related to coronavirus.

Ramp Up Your Sanitation Safeguards

Young man safely moves boxes into his new home using all the necessary PPE.

During the pandemic, you should only use packaged new boxes for packing your possessions. Using recycled boxes is very dangerous right now, since the virus is capable of surviving for hours on surfaces like cardboard. It’s okay to use boxes you have on hand as long as you use disinfectant wipes to clean them inside and out. You should use the same procedure on the items you pack inside the boxes, as well as on furniture, accessories, and appliances. This is time-consuming, but it significantly reduces the risk of transferring germs to your new home.

Have plenty of hand sanitizer, hand soap, surgical gloves, and paper towels on hand inside your home for the movers to use, and make sure they actually use them. Make access to all sinks clear for easy hand washing.

Review the Moving Company’s Policies on Changes, Cancellations, and Refunds

As we’ve all learned, circumstances during a pandemic can change from one day to the next. Some moving companies have changed their terms to be more flexible during this time, but others haven’t. Whichever company you end up going with, you’ll want to carefully review their terms to find out how simple it is to change moving dates if need be. Find out what the deposit is for their services and under what terms it’s totally refundable. Being blindsided by hidden fees will only make the burden of moving more difficult.

Always Have a Backup Plan

Plans change for many reasons, even during the best of times. If you go with a portable storage container company, they typically have a secure facility where they can keep your belongings until you’re ready to move to your new destination. More conventional moving companies may or may not have storage space to accommodate moving delays. In either case, inquire about storage costs and how you can access your possessions in the interim.

Delaying a move may cost you, but it’s still a better alternative than getting sick. If a move is inevitable, following these guidelines will put your mind at ease that you’ve done everything you can to make it as safe as possible for everyone in your family.

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