Are you planning to move but worry that the Coronavirus pandemic will limit your options? You can still move in the middle of a pandemic, you just need to do it carefully, safely, and with plenty of planning.
Even though much of normal life has changed, or come to a halt, there are still things that must be done. One of those things is moving.
People are still changing jobs. People are still getting married. Students are still going off to college. No matter your situation, a move in the middle of a pandemic is frightening, stressful, and difficult but it’s still possible.
As you prepare to move, either down the road or across the country, it’s important to note that you will need to take extra precautions wherever necessary to maintain your safety and the safety of those who help you move.
In this post, we’ve compiled some FAQs around moving during a pandemic to give you the peace of mind that you need before making your decision to move.
Should I Move During the Pandemic?
Many people have caught themselves asking this question and for good reason. With many states restricting or limiting travel, especially across state borders, now might not be the best time to plan a move. If the move isn’t absolutely necessary, review the following seven considerations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Are you, a family member, or a person you will visit at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19?
- Are cases currently high or rising where you live or where you plan to move?
- Are the hospitals where you live or where you plan to move overwhelmed with patients?
- Are these travel restrictions in place where you live or where you plan to move for visitors?
- In the 14 days prior to moving, have you or those you live with been in close contact with anyone outside of the household?
- Does your moving plan include traveling by plane, train, or bus (difficult to maintain six feet of distance)?
- Will people who don’t live with you be traveling with you to help with the move?
Can I Move to a New State?
In all likelihood, you will be able to move to a new start during the pandemic. However, it’s still a good idea to check with that state regarding any travel restrictions that have been enacted.
You should also review the restrictions of your current state and any states you will need to travel through in order to get to your new destination.
Many states, New York City for example, are still operating under a state of lockdown or quarantine so even though you can technically move, you will need to stay home until things are more stable in that area.
Are Moving Companies Operating?
Yes, moving companies are still operating during the pandemic. Even though they are not considered an essential business, most people recognize that sometimes moving isn’t something you can cancel or postpone for a variety of reasons.
The bottom line is that as of right now, moving companies are still functioning like normal. The nature of moving doesn’t require an extreme amount of personal interactions, making it a lower risk activity than other big-money decisions.
And since there are a lot of customers postponing their moves, this has created a good bit of availability for moving companies to take on new clients.
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Is it Possible to Obtain a Virtual Moving Estimate?
Yes, many moving services have started providing clients with estimates after taking a virtual tour of the home. This prevents you from potentially being exposed and prevents the movers from potentially being exposed.
You can either record a video walkthrough of the home that you can share with the moving companies you contact. Or, you could also do a virtual walkthrough live via video chat (Zoom, Apple FaceTime, Google Meet, etc.).
For an instant moving quote, check out our moving cost calculator to get an idea of how much you can expect to pay, without having to speak to anyone.
Are Moving Companies Returning Deposits for Postponements or Cancellations?
We can’t answer for every moving company, but most are returning deposits to clients who have to postpone their move for any reason. The majority of moving companies permit postponements and cancelations without penalties so long as you provide a couple of days notice.
This information should be readily available in the confirmation email you received from the moving company. If not, you can always call the company and ask specifically about cancelation requirements.
If you haven’t booked your moving company, this is a great example of why it’s so important to book a really good company. Choosing a company solely on price may result in hiring a mover with an inflexible or inconsiderate policy.
Planning Your Move During the Pandemic
If you have decided to continue with moving during Coronavirus, there are a lot of things you should take into consideration or plan so that the move goes off without a hitch and everyone remains healthy.
Review Pandemic Procedures at Donation Centers
Believe it or not, many donation centers across the country have stopped accepting certain items. Many even stopped accepting all donations for a brief period for fear that the Coronavirus would spread via certain items. Even with donation centers accepting items now, you should still find out what you can and cannot donate.
Many organizations, like Goodwill and the Salvation Army, operate nationally. You need to check the donation centers local to you before visiting them as the rules will differ based on the state where you live right now. Many places do not allow you to exit your vehicle. Instead, workers empty the items from the vehicle wearing masks and gloves.
Buy Extra Moving Supplies
Purchase extra moving supplies so you do not run out of boxes, peanuts, or tape while packing your home. Running out of supplies will force you to visit local hardware stores and this might not be the optimal situation if you are moving in a day or two. If you’re like a lot of people, you probably won’t want to go into the store, risking exposing yourself and the movers to the virus.
Be Strong With Health Protocols
Don’t feel embarrassed to enforce health protocols in your home. If you want the movers to wear masks and gloves at all times, they must follow your rules. It’s best to ask about health protocols the movers are required to follow based on their employer before deciding on a moving company. Doing so could make it much easier on you when opening your door to the movers on the big day.
Have Soap Available
It’s nice to have hand sanitizer available in your home for the movers, but soap is the better option. It’s understandable that you are trying to pack everything beforehand, but leave some soap in the bathrooms to promote hand washing. It takes a couple of hours to load furniture and boxes in a moving truck. The movers, and your family members, will likely use the bathroom throughout the day. Soap does a much better job at killing germs than disinfectant does.
Tips for a Safe Move During a Pandemic
Staying safe during a move in the middle of a pandemic is not as difficult as you might think. Below, you will find some safety guidelines that can help protect you, your family, and the movers:
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth
- Make sure the movers wear masks that cover their noses and mouths
- Maintain six feet of distance between you and the movers
- Disinfect the areas of the home that are touched the most
- Wear gloves when disinfecting the home before moving
- Disinfect your items
- Wash your hands regularly
- Check the mace requirements for the area where your new home is located
- Self-isolate when you arrive at your new home
- Disinfect the new home thoroughly
Clean Your Items as You Pack
Clean all of your items as you pack them. Think about it: when is the last time your crockpot or other kitchen items received a really good cleaning? Now is the best time to clean lamps, kitchen accessories, appliances, and other items that haven’t been washed in quite some time. Not only will you be opening boxes with clean items, you won’t have to worry that there are germs being spread from the old home to the new home. Use wipes with bleach, dust cloths, and gloves.
Can I Rent a Moving Truck?
If you would feel safer conducting the move on your own, renting a truck is your best option if you have too much stuff to fit into your vehicles and any trailers you might own. However, many people are wondering if moving vans and trucks are still available for rent in the middle of the pandemic?
Yes, moving vans and trucks are still available to rent while the world fights the Coronavirus. However, you should call the moving company of your choice instead of visiting them in-person to find out what is available and what their safety precautions are right now. You might have to book the rental online. You also might have to pick-up and drop-off the rented vehicle at locations different from the branch offices located near you.
I Don’t Feel Well; What Should I Do?
If you don’t feel well in the days leading up to the move, it is best to notify the moving company. This will help them adjust the sanitizing procedures they perform during a move and ensure that their workers are protected when they arrive at your home. In most cases, the moving company will still work with you for the move and not abandon you.
Be sure to wear a mask and gloves while packing, especially if you are not feeling well leading up to the move. Sanitize your items and house frequently, wash your hands, and remind the movers that you haven’t been feeling well. Do your best to have all the packing completed at least 24 hours prior to the movers arriving. Place them in a room by themselves with a door that closes. When the movers arrive at your home, stay as far away from them as possible.
- mortgage applications, and more
Stay in Constant Touch with Your Moving Company
Every moving company will have a cancellation policy that should be made available to you.
However, with the seriousness of the situation, extenuating circumstances policies may appear. This will be a case by case situation so know what you’re moving company is up to.
If you haven’t booked your moving company, this is a great example of why it’s so important to book a really good company. Choosing a company solely on price may result in hiring a mover with an inflexible or inconsiderate policy. The moving industry can be brutal.
Downsize, Prepare, and Get Started on What You Can
It’s a good idea to stay put for the moment. However, you can get plenty done for your move right from home. From downsizing, planning your move meticulously, and packing infrequently used items, be ready for when things are back to normal.
Print off our moving checklist and check off the things that you can do starting now. There are so many things to do, you won’t be left twiddling your thumbs.
Some of the things you can go ahead and do now:
- Print off the moving checklist PDF
- Research the best moving companies
- Get Moving Estimates
- Make a moving budget
- Make inventory and decide what items you’re going to downsize
See the full list of things to do before your move
Stay up to date on the developments
This one is really easy considering it seems that this is all anyone is talking about at the moment. We recommend sticking to the most reliable sources available to avoid misinformation.
This is especially important for moving because if you do decide to wait to move, you have to understand that millions of people around the world are waiting as well. This means that there will likely be a huge demand for the best movers as soon as all of this passes over so prices may inflate and availability may decrease dramatically.
How Might the Pandemic Further Impact a Move?
Things are changing rapidly with the pandemic, which means the impact the pandemic has on your move could differ based on where you are moving to and where you are moving from. Your move could be impacted in any of the following ways:
- Temporary orders issued by local governments could prevent you from moving when you wish or need to
- Temporary orders could prevent you from eating at restaurants during the move
- Shortages at grocery stores could make it difficult to stock up on various items when you reach your destination
- There could be a limited number of movers available because of COVID-19 spread or the inability to find employees
- Social distancing rules could prevent movers, family, and friends from gathering if there are more than 10 people together
- If you cannot move now, you can save money received from government stimulus payments to help with future moving expenses
- Many people have decided to move during the pandemic, which has led to increased wait times for customer service when activating or deactivating internet service, water service, gas service,
Explore Your Alternatives
It might make sense to reschedule your move if you can, but we understand that that’s not always possible. When it comes to moving long-distance, moving for work, or other reasons, there are ways you can still be safe while carrying out your upcoming move as planned.
While using a moving company is by far the most convenient way to move, there are other options that you should know about.
There is an extra layer of risk involved with moving right now due to the uncertainty that coronavirus creates. This is why you should be prepared with a plan B and C.
The natural plan B might be using a moving container company. This option allows more time flexibility and less physical interactions with people in a time that social distancing is advised.
Do remember that with any of these options you should be sure to understand each of their cancellation policies and maintain constant contact with the companies as we discussed earlier in the post