Social distancing measures for limiting the spread of COVID-19 have drastically changed the shape of everyday life. Restaurants, bars, offices, and other businesses in which people regularly tend to come within six feet of each other have been closed, with essential businesses remaining open under strict social distancing guidelines. Moving into a new apartment looks different now too, as both apartment hunting and the moving process itself tend to bring people closer than six feet apart. That said, safely moving during coronavirus is possible – here’s how.
1. Know whether movers are essential businesses
In most regions of the U.S., movers are essential businesses according to government pandemic regulations. However, this classification may vary by city and state. Be sure to check whether your state and city consider movers essential businesses – if not, you could face challenges safely moving during coronavirus and may want to consider postponing your move, if possible.
2. Decide whether you actually need to move
COVID-19 can be spread between two people less than six feet apart from each other by simply breathing or speaking, and if you hire movers to help you move, then all of you will be breathing and speaking in each other’s presence. You might thus want to postpone your move if possible. If you still decide to move, you can do so safely if you stick to the following steps.
3. Never tour apartments in person
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should conduct all apartment showings virtually. Many companies have implemented virtual showing tools that can easily be used in place of traditional in-person visits. Once you’ve relied on these tools to find your new apartment and sign your lease, then you can begin making the right steps for your move.
4. Contact movers – and ask questions
Ask any movers you’re considering about the steps they’re taking to minimize the potential for coronavirus to spread during moving. Be sure to inquire about their disinfecting and social distancing practices and ask how you can make their work easier. Additionally, just as with apartment showings, if your movers need to give you a quote for their work, set up a virtual estimate.
5. Start as early as possible
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused supply shortages and shipping delays. You should thus order all your moving supplies, such as boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, and mattress bags as early as possible. Make sure to have these items home-delivered, as in-store visits should be minimized to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
When your packages arrive, resist the temptation to use these boxes in your move. Instead, since COVID-19 can survive on cardboard for 24 hours, isolate your packages for that long, then unpack your deliveries outside if possible. For the same reason, using secondhand or recycling packing materials (other than those you accumulated long before the pandemic) may be dangerous. If you run out of packing supplies, consider packing your belongings inside your other belongings (for example, storing mugs and silverware in large kitchen pots).
You should begin your move by packing non-essential items such as decorations. This packing approach can help after your move, as you should isolate your boxes for 24 hours following your move before unpacking them. Doing so is much easier when your boxes don’t contain essential items.
6. Designate a staging space
During your move, you should minimize the number of trips your movers make in and out of your house. This way, you reduce the number of potential opportunities for COVID-19 to spread between you and your movers.
To achieve this goal, designate one portion of your apartment as a staging space where you can place boxes after they’re taped shut and ready to move. On moving day, have your movers take out these boxes first, in as few trips as possible, and stay at least six feet away from them. Then, wait outside your apartment as your movers haul out your larger belongings such as beds, dressers, and tables.
7. Clean and disinfect before, during, and after
It’s common courtesy to clean your apartment once you’ve moved out. You should take extra care to clean and disinfect your apartment while you pack, during your move, and, if possible, after you’ve unloaded all your belongings. Do the same at your new apartment before your move and while you’re unpacking, too. Keep plenty of disinfectants, hand sanitizer, and hand soap available, and don’t forget to quarantine boxes for at least 24 hours when possible.
8. Don’t involve friends
Often, moving involves gathering a couple of friends and paying them for their help with pizza and beer. Since COVID-19 spreads through speaking and breathing, having your friends in such close proximity during your move could increase your chances of transmission (remember, COVID-19 can be transmitted by asymptomatic people).
If you can’t do your move alone, keep your friends out of your move and hire professional movers. Make sure you’re all wearing face masks, minimizing the time you spend within six feet of one another, and disinfecting often. If anything, since your movers are professionals who complete multiple moves a day, they’ll be as diligent in these regards as you are.
9. Don’t move if you’re feeling sick
If you’re showing any COVID-19 symptoms, then do everything you can to cancel your move. Symptomatic people are far more contagious than asymptomatic people and can easily spread the virus to people in their vicinity. This consideration may require you to structure your move with extra flexibility regarding dates and moving companies, but these additional steps shouldn’t stop you from moving if you need to. Safely moving during coronavirus is possible – you just need to be careful.