How to Safely Move During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Jon Fesmire | September 1, 2020 @ 12:00 AM
Moving is inconvenient during the best of times, so if you’re moving during the COVID-19 pandemic, we feel for you. After all, that’s the opposite of sheltering in place.
If you can put it off until the pandemic is under control, that’s ideal, but we know you probably can’t. To stay safe from the virus, you’ll need to make changes to how you would normally move.
At every stage, keep in mind the CDC guidelines. When you’re out and around other people, wear a mask. Make sure it covers your chin, mouth, and nose. Practice social distancing, which means that, as much as possible, you should remain at least six feet away from anyone who doesn’t live in your household. Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer when you’ve touched foreign surfaces and can’t wash your hands. Also, avoid touching your face.
House and Apartment Hunting
During this time, it may be tough to see in person places you’re interested in renting. This is always tough when moving somewhere far away, but some landlords may be reluctant to meet in person during the pandemic. If you can tour a home, make sure it’s one where no one is currently living, and follow all social distancing protocols, including wearing your mask. Also, avoid touching anything inside the homes if possible.
Thanks to Google Street View, part of Google Maps, you can take a virtual, self-guided tour of any neighborhood you’re interested in. Also, some landlords and rental companies may have virtual home tours on their sites. You can also ask for a video tour or photographs.
Often, it’s a good idea to ask friends and family to help with a move. That includes packing in the weeks before you leave, loading the truck on moving day, and even unloading at your destination. Don’t do that during the quarantine! Give yourself and those you live with extra time to pack so you can avoid spreading germs with anyone outside your household.
You should also consider renting a self-storage unit online. Pack your non-essential items first and put them in storage, which will make more room in your home. By renting online, you can minimize your contact with others.
If you have especially heavy furniture or appliances that one person can’t carry alone, you won’t be able to move by yourself, not completely. You’ll need to have at least one other person help you get those out of your place and onto the moving truck. Then, you’ll need someone at your new home to help you get them inside.
However, if you live alone and either don’t have to move furniture and major appliances at all, if you can take apart your large furniture items, or if you’re renting a furnished home, it is possible to move on your own. You’ll just need to give yourself plenty of time. We recommend taking about a month to pack your things. Once you have your rental truck, take two days to get everything inside. Since you’ll need to drive the truck yourself, we suggest having your car shipped to your destination.
Whether you’re moving with help, or alone, always observe proper lifting technique.
Getting all your belongings onto a truck alone is futile. If you live with family or roommates, you can all do this together. If not, we encourage you to hire movers. They can come in after you’ve packed everything and load your furniture, boxes, and appliances onto the moving truck.
Make sure you vet the moving company thoroughly. In fact, contact several companies. You’ll need to have someone come by to look over your home and your stuff so they can give you as accurate an estimate as possible. Before you do that, though, make sure you feel comfortable with their COVID-19 safety procedures. Make sure they require masks and social distancing inside and outside of your home.
Consider these two options. You can rent a truck separately and have them pack that truck for the move, both from your home and your storage unit. Then, you’ll drive it to your new home and hire another moving company to unload the boxes. Or, you can have them load one of their trucks, which they’ll drive to your destination, and then they’ll unload it at your new place. The second option will likely cost quite a bit more with time, mileage, and gas figured in, but you’ll be able to travel to your destination in your car.
After the movers leave, clean major surfaces. COVID-19 primarily spreads person to person through respiratory droplets in the air, but wiping down those surfaces doesn’t hurt.
You’re not likely to get the virus driving in your car or the rental truck. There’s a greater danger of spreading it if you decide to take a flight. However, airlines require masks and have been kicking people off flights who refuse to wear them, and masks are excellent protection. Also, airlines have been doing a great job of keeping the air on their flights fresh by circulating outside air. If you decide to fly to your destination, instead of drive, follow safety rules to the letter.
If you’re driving, you’ll need to get out of your car periodically. Bring a lot of snacks and drinks so you don’t have to buy very many on the trip. Wear your mask whenever you’re out of the car. Wash your hands after using any restroom, and use hand sanitizer before you get out of your car at a gas station, and after you get back in.
A long move can take a week or more. Fortunately, some hotels are offering electronic check-in. You may have some hotel or motel stays where you don’t have to see another person. If you do need to check-in at a desk, just wear your mask and avoid touching counters.
We hope this helps you with a smooth transition from one home to another. When in doubt, remember the importance of following CDC guidelines to stay healthy.