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How to Move Safely During the Coronavirus Pandemic

By: Justin Chaplin
March 27, 2020

Coronavirus is rapidly changing how we live our lives, from work to virtual entertainment. It’s also turning industries like moving on its head. Moving is already a stressful process, and coronavirus and social distancing adds extra obstacles and confusion. 

If you can’t delay your move and need to pack up and go, here’s how to do it safely during the era of coronavirus.

Check the Rules and Regulations

Before you call a moving company, check the rules and regulations in your city. Your state regulations may not be specific enough to your area, so it’s always wise to go straight to your local government. 

Make sure moving companies are still deemed an essential business before you start researching moving companies.

Don’t Be Afraid to Rent Sight Unseen

For those who haven’t found their new apartment yet, you can rent an apartment sight unseen. Virtual tours are becoming more popular and make seeing a unit easy. You can get all the essential information online or over the phone, including dimensions and lease terms.

Learn more about how to rent an apartment sight unseen

However, there are some cons to renting an apartment sight unseen. For example, you are much more prone to rental fraud if everything is being done online. Here’s how to avoid rental scams and other frauds.

Give Yourself a Time Cushion

It’s not wise to book your move the day your lease ends, even without a global pandemic. However, it’s even more crucial to give yourself a little extra time to move, just in case anyone gets sick or other issues arise.

If possible, give yourself at least a week in between your lease ending and your new one starting. That’ll allow for some flexibility for an emergency.

If You’re Using a Moving Service, Ask Questions

Moving companies are currently considered an essential business. They’re up and running. 

Before you book a mover, ask what precautions they’re taking to ensure safety during the pandemic. Make notes about how moving services are handling.

  • Social distancing
  • Disinfecting the truck, blankets, or other supplies
  • How much notice you’ll receive if they have to cancel due to illness

Once the movers arrive, it’s crucial to everyone’s health to practice social distancing. If possible, station yourself in a room away from the action that can be packed up last. Supervising the move from a balcony is also an option to maintain physical distance.

Movers often need you to sign off on checklists and invoices. Ask if it’s possible to handle paperwork electronically. There are tons of services out there to sign any paperwork digitally.

Disinfect, Disinfect, Disinfect

If we’ve learned nothing else about COVID-19, it’s to keep our hands, homes, and personal belongings clean and sanitized. It can feel counterproductive to thoroughly clean before you move. However, disinfecting can prevent germs and viruses from spreading.

Some people believe viruses will die without an active host. However, the coronavirus can live on surfaces for several days. That can leave you, your guests, and the movers vulnerable to infection.

Continue disinfecting when movers are in another area to keep up with the cleaning process. You should also keep extra hand sanitizer and soap on hand for the movers. 

Once you’ve moved in, make sure your new apartment is as clean as possible. Here's how to disinfect your apartment.

Use Store-Bought Boxes

Now is not the time to go hunting for free moving boxes at grocery stores and on the curbs on recycling day. We already know the coronavirus can live on surfaces for several days. You don’t want to unpack a virus at your new apartment.

Your choices are limited to store-bought boxes or supplies you already have on hand. Make sure to load up on packing tape and packing peanuts or protective wrap.

Stay Organized

Make this moment your most organized and efficient moving day ever. You want movers, contractors, and anyone else in and out of your apartment as quickly as possible. Push lighter weight boxes towards the front door and organize your rooms. That’ll make it easy to get the job done quickly.

Being prepared also means having extra supplies, disinfectant, and little things like water and snacks on hand to keep things moving along.

Wear Disposable Gloves and Masks

Disposable gloves and masks are hard to come by. You should consider donating any excess supplies to area hospitals. If you still have a few sets to spare, keep some on hand for yourself and the movers to keep everyone safe.

Use a Ziploc bag to seal up any gloves and masks before throwing them away. If anyone helping with the move is infected with the coronavirus, the bag will prevent the virus from spreading in the trash.

Keep Practicing the Hygiene Basics

Moves are exciting, stressful, and rip you out of your everyday routine. It’s essential to focus on hygiene basics throughout the move and while you unpack. 

Keep up social distancing during your move, whether you’re stepping out to get take-out or chatting with a neighbor. 

Keep hand sanitizer on you at all times. Regularly wash your hands with soap and hot water. Offer up sanitizer to movers frequently to remind them to stay on top of hygiene. 

There’s no need to shake hands with the movers, even if they did a fantastic job. Let them know how much you appreciate their service during this challenging time, but that you don’t want to spread potential germs. If you must offer some sort of physical exchange, offer an elbow tap.

Make Sure Your Travel Plans Are In Order

Make sure your travel plans are in order if you’re taking a flight to relocate. Indulge in the flexible cancellation policy and ensure your flights are refundable. You never know if domestic travel will be shut down or restricted from your area. 

Look into travel insurance for your trip. Talk through the options with a customer service rep. Most policies won’t cover you in a pandemic. However, they may still cover you from various interruptions. 

If at all possible, wear a mask and gloves at the airport and while flying. Bring along Lysol wipes and disinfect your space while waiting for your flight. The same advice goes for wiping down your armrests, tray table, and windows on your flight.  

It can be difficult to avoid crowds at the airport. So, do your best to limit all contact once you’ve checked in. 

Allow for extra time at the airport to navigate slowly and take all of the precautions you need. Pack snacks before you go. Bring an empty water bottle to fill up after clearing security.

Road trips might be more relaxing, but lonelier. Practicing social distancing doesn’t leave room for companions in your car. 

If you’re in a state where restaurants are open, head to the drive-through to stay diligent about social distancing. Remember to sanitize gas station handles. Then, use lots of hand sanitizer anytime you re-enter your car.

Final Thoughts

Moving while practicing social distancing isn’t always easy. However, it doesn’t have to derail your plans. Stay proactive and protect your health while doing your part in protecting the world.

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