Are Movers Essential Workers During Covid-19?

August 13, 2021Moving Tips
Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

We were all unprepared for the changes that arrived with the global pandemic, so it is not unusual to ask ourselves are movers essential workers nowadays, when many businesses suffer from Covid-19 shutdowns. The simple answer – yes, they are – may not be enough, so read further if you want to find additional explanations, as well as all the answers to what has changed in the relocation industry since the beginning of 2020.

COVID-19 – Why Does It Represent a Problem during the Move?

More than 35 million coronavirus cases in the US since the beginning of the crisis are reasons why the possibility of getting sick needs to be taken seriously. Since it’s a highly contagious disease, every contact with people outside of your immediate circle of friends and family represents a potential danger to your health.

Whether you decide to relocate to a different home all by yourself or by hiring a relocation crew, you are bound to be in contact with people about whom you know nothing. Considering that many cases are asymptomatic, you can never know if the person next to you is a carrier, including salespeople, cashiers, and relocation workers. Having that in mind, you must be wondering: Is moving essential during these times? For some people, moving is a necessity – they have no luxury to rethink if it’s time to move or not. The only solution lies in taking all the safety measures provided by the World Health Organization.

A coronavirus cell
The fact that this virus spreads easily and can produce asymptomatic symptoms makes human interaction dangerous

What Is the Meaning of “Essential”?

Lately, it may seem that it is the only word we hear when the conversation about business is on the table. But what does it mean, and how can you make a difference between a vital and non-vital service? A vital service is one needed in order for society to function properly, like those that provide:

  • Medical aid,
  • Fire-fighting and prevention,
  • Sale of food,
  • Cleaning and sanitation,
  • Utilities and their maintenance, and so on.

Why Is Moving Considered Essential?

Relocation businesses are on the list of services connected to transportation and logistics, which makes them very important in the States during this health crisis. There are just some cases where a moving day cannot be postponed. For example, if your lease is coming to an end or you’ve committed to a new one, or if you are relocating for a job or college, the moving date can’t be changed – and that is when a relocation team comes in.

In addition to that, we are all aware of the blow that the US economy has taken since the beginning of the crisis, resulting in people losing their jobs or having a significantly lower income. That is why downsizing has become a new reality for many American families, with relocations from a house to an apartment as one of the money-saving solutions. And during the change of housing habits, no one is discriminated against – studies show that many millennials are relocating back home to their parents. When moving becomes more of a need than a wish, moving services become vital.

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Time, States, Companies – Be Familiar With Different Coronavirus Policies While Moving Cross-Country

Keep in mind that designating relocation workers as a vital workforce is not officially done on a federal level, which is why you must follow the laws and restrictions provided by the states you are relocating to and from. But that is not all – different companies function in different ways (even when coming from the same state), so check their websites and contact them to find more about each company’s policy.

Considering the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, don’t forget to follow the news and confirm each moving-related schedule you’ve made. Also, if you are renting a new home or if you’ve rented the old one, you must see where your landlord (old or new) stands on relocation permissions. You don’t want to go through the fuss of the move only to find out that your new landlord won’t let the moving crew into the building.

What Happens if You Want to Cancel Your Move?

Even without the pandemic’s interference, you are usually allowed to cancel your relocation without penalties if it’s done in a timely manner. However, most companies have a policy of keeping the deposit you provided them with, so remember to check that particular clause in your contract. You should also keep in mind that the cancellation process may be a little bit different nowadays because some companies recognize the unusual circumstances in which business is being done. They are ready to help by providing a deposit-free move, or they are willing to give it back to you if something unexpected occurs.

A woman reading a contract concluded with moving company
Read your contract carefully to see if your deposit is refundable

Safety Precautions When Hiring Cross-Country Movers and Their Services During COVID-19 – Changes in the Industry

Fighting this virus for more than a year means that each business had to find a way of coping with the danger this virus represents. However, those ways of coping resulted in a change in many different business aspects. When it comes to moving companies, changes have been made in each service they provide during the move out of state so that both their customers and employees can stay safe and healthy.

Which Prevention Measures Are Relocation Companies Taking During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Each company is responsible for giving employees proper instructions. Note that every reliable relocation team should make sure that the following standards are met during each cross-country move:

  • All company employees must wear personal protective equipment consisting of a face mask and gloves. Note that industry regulations don’t allow them to wear surgical gloves because they don’t provide a good grip, but they should wear washable gloves.
  • Handshakes and any kind of physical contact should be avoided, and social distancing between workers and customers should be practiced.
  • The relocation team must have hand sanitizers, antibacterial wipes, and other products by their side all the time so that they can disinfect their hands and other surfaces frequently.
  • The relocation truck and equipment must be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Some relocation teams will go one step further and assure you that only your belongings will be packed in their truck.
  • The body temperature of each worker needs to be measured before they come to your home. If someone is not feeling well, they won’t be a part of your relocation crew.
  • The company will go with you through the process of a virtual instead of an in-home estimate of your household inventory.

To Pack Yourself or Ask Professional Movers for Help During COVID-19 – How to Decide?

If you are initially repulsed by the thought of someone staying in your home and packing your belongings during the pandemic, you might want to think again. With some professional packing services, packing materials are included in the price, which means that you won’t have to go to a store and wait in long lines to buy supplies. Decide which is better – to be surrounded by random people or with a relocation crew that cares if their customers are safe and healthy?

If you see the DIY option as more fitting for you, however, note that all this pandemic-related social distancing will give you more time to pack and organize so the possibility of making some of the most common relocation mistakes will be minimal. Learn some useful packing tips and explore relocation hacks – lack of time can no longer be your excuse. You will also have more time to declutter your stuff. Just remember to use all the benefits of the online world and not to organize garage sales or any other event that implies a crowd.

One more corona-related packing tip for the DIY enthusiasts is not to use free or recycled boxes, no matter what your relocation budget is or how much you want to save on relocation costs – you can’t know if the person previously using them was contagious. Buy unused ones and give yourself a little less worry during the relocation to a different state.

Boxes and other packing supplies
It's better to use new material than the one that belonged to someone before you

Are Storage Units Still an Option When Relocating?

People who are relocating still have storage units at their disposal, but with slight changes. For example, the time customers can spend going through the storage unit is limited, and so is the number of customers who can be at the same time in the storage lot – after all, social distancing is one of the best ways to fight this virus. Of course, each storage lot must be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis. If your company offers this kind of service and you decide you need them, you just need to focus on how to adequately protect your items in storage units – the relocation team will do the rest

Car Shipping Service and Why It Is Considered a Safe Option

Travels, in general, are discouraged by the US government, but if you have one of those reasons to move that cannot be postponed, it is always better to minimize the time of your actual travel. It can be done if you choose to move efficiently and embrace the benefits of car shipping.

Consider this: if you decide to drive through some of the famous routes in the USA on your cross-country move, you are bound to have to book several different hotels, go through numerous gas stations, and eat in restaurants and diners that have a lot of people going in and out of them each day. It will all result in you being more exposed to the virus than you would be if you hired a USA auto transport company that can help you by transporting the car from state to state instead of you.

When it comes to the question of covid-related safety, it doesn’t matter if you’re going to choose an open trailer over the enclosed auto transport or vice versa. However, when selecting between delivery services during the crisis, door-to-door auto transport is much safer than terminal-to-terminal car shipping because you don’t have to go anywhere further than right outside of your house to pick up the car. Choose the first option if your car shipping company can offer you both.

Of course, you must preserve your health during travel, so watch the following video – it will show you some useful tips about traveling during the pandemic.

YouTube video

Which Actions Should You Take to Ensure Everyone Stays Safe and Healthy?

Your relocation team will do all the work needed considering relocation, but you must contribute to making the working environment as safe as possible. You must:

  • Wear a mask and gloves – in the time of the coronavirus, these items are considered relocation essentials. You also need to follow all rules, regulations, and measures advised by the WHO.
  • Disinfect your hands as often as you can.
  • Clean all your belongings and surfaces before the relocation crew arrives to protect them; cleaning should also be one of the things to do after the move, so you can protect yourself.
  • If you or someone close to you is sick, don’t come in contact with the crew – send someone you weren’t near to for more than two weeks or postpone the relocation.
  • If your age or conditions such as asthma and diabetes make you a part of a high-risk group, either give up on the relocation at the moment or give over the whole process to someone else.
  • If you opt for DIY packing, ensure to prepare for the relocation crew the right way and put away the packed boxes at least 24 hours before movers arrive – that is the average amount of time a virus can survive on the cardboard.
A girl with a mask using hand sanitizer during cross-country moving
Protect yourself - wear protective gear and disinfect often

Are Movers Essential Workers and Could They Become Vital to You?

The question Are movers considered essential services during the coronavirus crisis is, above all, connected to the answer to the question: How much do you really need them. Keep in mind that even a local relocation could be challenging and stressful, so imagine how much work and effort you must put into a cross-country one. If you deem hiring relocation teams necessary, don’t be afraid – reliable relocation companies are doing everything they can to preserve the health of both their customers and their employees. Find a trustworthy relocation company that could help you secure a stress-free relocation and finish your move with perfect health.

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