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May 26, 2020

How to Move Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Life still happens in the midst of a pandemic. We’ve all put our lives on hold as much as possible, but sometimes, it’s still necessary to relocate. It’s also possible that COVID-19 has created a scenario in which you have little choice but to move. Whatever your reasoning, it’s a challenging and unusual time to be moving, and you likely have several questions. We’re here to answer them.

Are moving services considered “essential”?

COVID-19 lockdowns have mandated the temporary closure of so-called “non-essential” businesses. Generally, businesses providing moving services are considered essential by state governments. However, rules and regulations are quickly changing, and some businesses are choosing not to be open right now even if they’re allowed. To be safe, check with the businesses involved in your move that they’re still open and operating. The best way to do this is by calling them, since you can’t count on all businesses to update their website or social media accordingly.

Am I allowed to move during this time?

Since moving businesses have been deemed essential, the logical conclusion is that moving is currently permitted. However, some apartment buildings are barring people from moving in or out for the time being, to limit tenants’ exposure to the virus. Brick Underground has tips on working around such a measure, if you must. If you have to break your lease, check out our guide to doing so.

Can I postpone my move?

COVID-19 has prompted many businesses to be more flexible with their policies and accommodating of customers’ needs under the current circumstances. With this in mind, it’s worth reaching out to the necessary entities – real estate agents, banks, buyers, sellers, moving companies, etc. – to see if you can postpone your move. Chances are they will work with you and be understanding. Just remember to be patient, kind and appreciative.

Is it clean and safe to move right now?

In addition to changes in customer service, businesses have majorly improved their safety and sanitation efforts. Check each company’s website for their response to COVID-19, or call or email them about it. Efforts likely include limiting the number of employees working at a time and requiring them to practice social distancing, wash hands frequently and wear masks, as well as sanitizing all equipment and objects they handle.

If you’re still concerned, you may want to consider doing the move yourself. You’ll have full control over the cleanliness and interactions with others. Use our Ultimate Relocation Checklist, 10 Best Apps to Help With Your Move and other helpful moving guides from this very blog.

Where can I buy moving supplies if I need them?

Packing supply stores are considered essential businesses, so check to see if any are open near you. Otherwise, “big-box stores” like Target, Walmart and Home Depot should be open and carrying moving supplies. You can also purchase them online, but expect some shipping delays.

How can I tour houses or apartments from a distance?

With in-person tours discouraged for the time being, the real estate industry has made great use of 3D virtual tours, usually available online. Furnished Quarters, for instance, has long included virtual tours on our website, allowing you to click around and traverse an entire apartment as if you were there. You can also have the seller or your real estate agent provide a tour via video call.

What about travel?

Traveling by plane, train or automobile within the United States is still permitted, but with some restrictions. A number of states, including Alaska, Maine, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Florida, are requiring some or all out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. See the WSJ’s Guide to State Coronavirus Reopenings and Lockdowns for more information. If you’ll need to travel internationally, check that it’s allowed, as restrictions vary across the globe.

The COVID-19 situation is ongoing and rapidly developing, so be sure to check thoroughly and often on the latest travel restrictions. Whatever your destination or method of travel, follow CDC recommendations and use your best judgment. For air travel, see the TSA’s COVID-19 information page.

How can I protect myself and my household?

During your move, use the same measures you should be using every day to prevent spreading and contracting coronavirus:

  • Stay home if you’re sick, and avoid coming into close contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place.
  • If soap and water aren’t readily available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially the eyes, mouth and nose.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands.
  • Maintain at least six feet of distance from other people outside your household.
  • Use a cloth face covering (mask) when in public.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. EPA-registered household disinfectants are recommended.

For more information, see the CDC’s guidelines on How to Protect Yourself & Others.

What if I need a temporary place to stay?

With all the uncertainty due to COVID-19, there’s a chance you may find yourself temporarily without a place to stay. Extended hotel stays can get expensive and there is a lot of turnover, leading to more germs. Short-term furnished apartments are made for these types of situations, when you need an interim home that feels like home. They’re move-in ready and include everything from utilities and WiFi to linens and kitchen supplies. Ask about our special discounted furnished apartments during COVID-19.

Further reading

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