Moving Safely in the Age of COVID

Jon Fesmire |

We’re two years into the COVID pandemic, and while our lives have gotten somewhat back to normal, variants of the disease continue to spread, infecting millions and killing thousands daily around the world.

Moving safely during COVID is partly a matter of using common sense. Follow social distancing and wear a mask.

Also, make sure you and everyone in your household are fully vaccinated and that you’ve all had your booster shot. That will afford you the best safety against illness. Most people being hospitalized for and dying of COVID are unvaccinated. So far, the vaccines continue to protect against all variants of the virus. The omicron variant evades the vaccines more than others, but those vaccinated who catch omicron have mild or even asymptomatic cases.

Now, let’s move on to some specifics about moving during the pandemic.

Time

Even pre-pandemic, we recommended planning for your move early, but COVID made this even more important.

It used to be that you could be sure that moving companies, truck rental companies, stores, and self storage facilities would be open during normal business hours. Now, that’s uncertain. COVID rules ease and then get tighter regularly, depending on how many people are getting sick and what new variant has arisen. Your child’s school may have to shut down for a few weeks.

Planning for your move earlier gives you more time to account for delays these issues can cause. It will also give you time to order supplies online, rather than buying them in person, and more time to donate things you no longer need and don’t plan to bring with you.

Movers

You won’t have to work as hard if you hire movers, but you’ll be exposed to more people. So, it’s important to work with the moving company to make sure everyone follows proper protocols.

You, your family, your helping friends, and the movers all need to wear masks, which must cover the mouth and nose. It’s common to see people wearing masks improperly with their noses sticking out, which is tantamount to not wearing a mask at all. The virus is most likely to infect a person through the nose, and the virus sheds at least as easily from the nose as from the mouth.

For safety reasons, moving companies have been providing virtual estimates and doing more paperwork online. Ask if you can send in pictures of your rooms and closets for the estimate, rather than having someone come into your home.

Ask about their COVID policies. If they’ve had sick employees, how did they handle the situation? Can you reschedule for free if someone in your household comes down with COVID? Will they send a supervisor with the movers to ensure that all employees follow the proper protocols?

No Movers

Hiring movers is a luxury; not everyone can afford this service. If you need to move on your own, we recommend the same thing we always do: ask friends and family to help.

However, you’ll need to take some extra steps. Ask your potential helpers about their vaccination status. If they’re not vaccinated and won’t get their shots in time, let them know you won’t need their help.

Moving Truck

Renting a moving truck may involve less face-to-face contact as well. Make your reservation over the phone or online. The truck rental company may require you to make an appointment for the pickup, or they may even have curbside pickup options.

Moving Day

On moving day, have soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer available to everyone. Although we now know that COVID is airborne and spreads from person to person, we still recommend sanitizing high-touch areas. Also, open windows for air circulation.

Provide masks for your helpers as well. Omicron is highly contagious, so we suggest double-masking or wearing N95 or KN95 masks.

Your helpers will need to wear their masks properly and maintain social distancing when possible. If two or more people need to move a sizable piece of furniture out of the house, they may have to set aside social distance to do that, of course.

We hope this helps you to have a safe move. If you need to rent a storage unit to help with your move, check our facility listings, which span the U.S. and Canada.