What is COVID-19 and how it could impact my move?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the world as we know it. Traveling and moving across borders was not untouched by the virus. Perhaps you were one of those that needed to relocate during this pandemic and as a result, you may have a hundred and one questions. You might be wondering if moving services are still available? Can you hire moving equipment and more importantly what are additional protocols involved?
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- Relocating during the novice COVID-19 pandemic might be stressful but with some useful information, you can ensure your relocation goes smoothly
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This guide aims to answer all your questions while providing a general plan of action for your relocation during COVID-19 alerts. Additional resources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are good resources for additional information.
What is COVID-19?
Before we get into the processes involved if you are relocating during the pandemic, let’s look at what exactly is coronavirus (COVID-19)?
COVID-19 is not the first coronavirus. Coronavirus is a virus that can be spread by both humans and animals. And COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease that is a new strain of existing viruses within the coronavirus string of viruses. COVID-19 originated in December 2019 and the outbreak began in the province of Wuhan in China. It is spread by droplets from the mouth or nose. Hence why social distancing measures across the world have become stringent.
Millions of Americans moved to other states during the pandemic
According to a Pew Research Center survey, approximately 1 in 5 American adults either moved due to the pandemic or at the very least knows someone that did. That’s around 22% of the American population.
Approximately 9% of those who have relocated were young adults aged 18 to 29. The reasons were due to job losses and the shutdown of college accommodation. A whopping 28% of relocators said that they had moved to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Other reasons for relocating included a desire to be with family, to reduce living expenses, and moving to secondary or holiday homes, to name a few.
Popular states for relocation during COVID-19
Nearly 9 million Americans moved in 2020 – and let’s look at which states most relocators flocked to.
There were some major game-changers in terms of relocation trends in America in the past year. For starters, California set a different type of record with 57% of its relocators leaving the state. It was the first time since 1995 that the state of California has classified an outbound state. Trends included moving from California to Maine and moving from California to Idaho. Likewise, many Americans left New York for states like Maine and Maine.
Moving to North Carolina was also a popular trend during the COVID-19 in 2020. While Idaho claimed the top spot for relocators with 66% of moves being inbound.
North Carolina saw 64% inbound moves, Maine 62% inbound moves, and relocation to New Hampshire was 61% inbound. Alaska, New Mexico, and Alabama saw an inbound rate of approximately 60%. Kentucky, for the first time in over a decade, saw more people move to the state as opposed to outbound moves.
Most popular states for relocation during COVID-19
Let’s have a look at the top 5 states with the highest inbound relocations:
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Why these states became popular for relocation during COVID-19
The starkest statistic and change of migration pattern during COVID-19 in America is the high outbound moves from more expensive, denser cities such as Los Angeles or Manhattan. New York witnessed 45% more outbound relocations.
The reasons why states like Idaho, South Carolina, and Maine, to name a few have become a popular choice for domestic relocation are practically all the same. People were leaving bigger cities, reducing living expenses, moving to relatives, job losses, current unemployment rates in America, and more. It does, however, mean a major economic boost for these respective states.
Why are Americans moving to less expensive states?
The reason is simple: to save money! Moving was not a problem as long as professional moving companies adhered to the preventive measures outlined. Relocators were able to find cheap movers and move to less expensive states with little to no trouble during the peak of COVID-19.
Full-service movers and long-distance movers were available and ready to relocate more than 9 million people during 2020.
As long as professional moving companies regularly sanitized trucks wore the required protective gear and kept measures of social distancing in place, they were good to operate.
Should I move to another state during COVID-19?
People may be more than likely leaving major cities (especially during lockdown periods) to live in less densely populated areas because they had some sense of freedom compared to being stuck in a tiny apartment. Regardless, whether you are wanting to move for that very reason – or entirely different reasons – the question remains the same… should you move or not?
Relocating is a big deal no matter the reason. And that’s exactly why you find yourself questioning it. Let’s look at some guidelines to help you along the way!
Why do you want to move?
Perhaps you are reevaluating career goals, lowering living costs, or loss of income. You could require a different living space or you have the desire to be closer to friends and family. The funny thing is many people had all these desires of moving long before COVID-19 but the pandemic itself nudged them on to finally make the move!
The ‘why’ you are moving is important as far as in that you need to ask yourself the following questions: Why are you considering the move right now? Will it bring about improvement to your life? And will this improvement be of a short- or long-term nature? Naturally, you need to weigh up the pros and cons of the state you are moving to.
The financial effects of your move…
Financial stability will always almost be at the forefront of any decision we make. And this is no different if you are planning on relocating. Especially if you are planning a cross-country move.
Consider the following if you are have been thinking of relocating:
- What is the scope of the job market in the state you are considering?
- Is there a stable job market in your line of work?
- Will you be able to find remote work (especially considering COVID-19)?
- Do you see yourself working remotely on a long-term basis?
- Does the move present any pros or cons as far as your career is concerned?
Consider the short- and long-term costs involved
When it comes to relocating, you have various expenses to keep in mind. From moving costs of the move to the living costs of the respective states you are moving to – and whether you will need any additional financial funds during the process.
Moving costs also extend to moving insurances and moving prices depending on your requirements.
You need to have an estimate of what you will be earning versus what your living expenses will be to determine whether you are financially able to move.
What are moving companies doing differently during COVID-19?
- Moving companies have had to change some of their working practices to adhere to the guidelines and regulations of working during COVID-19
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How are storage companies and moving companies responding to the COVID-19 pandemic? And how has this impacted moving services in general?
So, what is the current situation? Federal and state governments have implemented various restrictions on travel and business operations. This is in response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. For the latest stats on infections visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s website.
Additionally, many states have ordered lockdowns of nonessential businesses. This remains the case still. Moving companies, considered essential services, were able to operate even during the strict lockdown periods. However, not without change to practices. Here are some of the extra precautions moving companies have implemented in response to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19:
- Available hand sanitizing stations throughout offices
- Moving companies are encouraging moving estimates virtually or telephonically as opposed to in-home estimates
- Where possible, employees are working remotely and office employees, in doing so, can work at safe social distancing guidelines
- Any employee who feels ill is not permitted to work
- All employees showing signs of illness in the workplace is sent home
- Trucks are disinfected
- Drivers are equipped with protective gear
- Soap and water is available for drivers to disinfect between moves
These are the very basic procedures to be in place with any company operating during COVID-19. Ask the specific moving company that you are considering to provide you with a detailed report on their response to COVID-19 and the safety measures they have in place.
10 Tips for Moving During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Whether you are moving during the COVID-19 outbreak or perhaps you had a moving date secured before the outbreak; there are additional safety measures you can take to ensure a safe move.
Although Coronavirus has brought much of the world and workforce to a halt. That is not the case for moving companies as they are considered essential services.
What can you do before you move?
- You need to ensure you choose the right moving company and that you ask the right questions! Most moving companies should have some sort of declaration, which will tell you what their response is to the COVID-19 virus. If they do not have any measures in place to combat the spread of the virus, it’s safe to say, you should not use that company.
What should you ask your moving company?
- What precautions are in place to combat the spread of the virus?
- How do they protect the drivers and other staff members?
- Do they have any precautions that they recommend for you during the move?
- How would they handle a COVID-19 positive case in the workplace?
- Request any additional information they might be able to provide.
Skip the in-house estimation for a virtual moving quote
The trick is to avoid human contact as far as possible. Luckily, there is an alternative to traditional in-person moving estimation, namely, virtual moving quotes. Using video chat, you can walk the estimator through your home. You get the job done remotely and risk-free.
It works because companies are still able to provide customers with accurate moving estimations, thanks to technology.
Tips for virtual moving estimations:
- Ensure that your phone is fully charged and that you have a Wi-Fi signal. If you are using data for the video call, top-up to ensure you have enough for the duration of the virtual moving estimation.
- Switch on all the lights.
- Open all cupboards, cabinets, and alike for items, which are to be moved.
- Provide the moving estimator with a detailed list of things that you need to be moved. The more information they have, the more accurate your moving estimation will be.
- Having a measuring tape on hand is a great idea!
Clean and disinfect everything!
If you can, hire professional cleaners for your move in and out. It is a great time saver and you know the job is done correctly. You will have to ensure that it is a cleaning service permitted to operate during COVID-19.
General guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting households:
- Routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces
- Adhere to the safety instructions when using cleaning and sanitizing products
- If you are moving with plants, ensure that they are kept well-ventilated from all cleaning and sanitizing products
What precautions to take during your move?
Practice social distancing
Use non-contact methods of greeting and ensure you adhere to social distancing guidance. Generally, this means that you should maintain a six-foot distance. If you are moving with seniors, you should not have them in contact with anyone. Perhaps moving seniors before the movers arrive might be a good idea.
Even if you are moving with kids, limiting contact across the board is generally the safer option.
TIP: Moving with pets can also be quite tricky. Ensure you have made all the necessary arrangements to ensure the safe relocation of your pets.
- The number one preventative measure of combating the spread of COVID-19 is through regular and thorough hand washing practices
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Number 1 Rule: Washing hands
You and your movers should wash hands at regular intervals. Don’t allow more than one person at a time to use the restroom and have disinfectant wipes readily available. This can be used for doorknobs and light switches, and other frequently touched surfaces.
What precautions to take after your move?
Are you moving while divorcing? Ensure that both parties are on the same page as far as all precautions and safety measures are concerned. The chances are you are moving to different homes and this doubles this risk of exposure to the virus.
Additionally, clean and disinfect your furniture and belongings as you unpack. Contact your local respective authorities to enquire about recycling or disposing of moving boxes and supplies.
How could COVID-19 affect my move?
Relocating pre-COVID worked a little differently compared to now. There are additional rules, regulations, and restrictions in place. And this could vary from state to state. So, there are a few things that could affect your move during COVID-19 and here they are.
Consider the road ahead
You need to know what the local mandates are of the state you are traveling to as well as the states you will be traveling through. You will need to plan your road. Book restaurants and motels as far in advance as possible. Many may be closed due to local mandates.
TIP: Ensure you have enough masks and hand sanitizer for the journey.
Get your moving estimates in advance
Moving companies that are still operating might be swamped with work or the procedures simply take longer. Nonetheless, you want to get those moving estimates as quickly as possible. Only choose moving companies that are compliant with COVID-19 protocols, rules, and regulations – and who are actively practicing safety measures.
Local and Government mandates
If you are moving from or to a state or area that has seen a surge in cases, you might want to stay up to date on the immediate measures they put in place. Perhaps it might prevent you from leaving the borders of your state or entering another.
Do you require specialized moving services?
Moving of some things is considered specialized moving services. Examples thereof include but is not limited to the following:
Are you moving a pool table? – You need to verify with your moving company of choice if they offer pool moving services. Especially, whether they offer the service during COVID-19. Some moving companies might have placed restrictions on the items they are moving or might only be permitted to move certain items.
Moving a hot tub is considered a specialized service. – Likewise moving hot tubs is a specialized skill and is not a service offered by all moving companies. If you are moving a hot tub, check with your mover first.
Moving a piano or other bulky musical instruments? – The best bet is to search for moving companies offering these services from the start. Moving a piano is an integral task and best left to the professionals.
Moving bulky items – If you are moving bulky items that require additional machinery or something alike, you should first establish if the moving company can obtain the necessary equipment and tools necessary for your bulky items moved.
Truck Rental and DIY moving truck during COVID
Like moving companies,truck rental companies are also still operating and are implementing extra precautionary measures. This is good news if you are considering a truck rental for your relocation.
The overall rule when hiring a DIY moving truck is to ensure the implementation of safety measures and mitigation towards the spread of the virus. Besides that golden rule, avoid these mistakes and keep safe during your move.
1. Don’t forget to ask movers what they are doing to mitigate Coronavirus health risks
Professional movers should wear some kind of personal protective equipment (PPE) and have other preventative practices to protect employees and customers.
2. Big Mistake: Not wearing masks, gloves, and proper PPE
Wearing protective gear when moving during the Coronavirus pandemic is to safeguard you and anyone you come in contact with. Examples thereof can range from cloth to masks, gloves, and shoe coverings. This gear will help prevent you from bringing the virus into your home.
3. Social distancing is important, practice it.
Wearing PPE alone is not enough, be sure to keep a safe distance of at least 6 feet from others.
4. Don’t forget to offer adequate handwash and hand sanitizer on moving day
Washing and disinfecting hands is the best-known way to mitigate the spread of the virus. Offer handwash and a roll of paper towels wherever possible on moving day to ensure all hands involved are clean and disinfected. You can use sanitizing wipes for door knobs, stair railings, and other frequently touched areas.
5. Not asking for a virtual survey
Thanks to technology, there is no need to have an in-house moving estimation. Instead, request a virtual survey. It limits human-to-human contact, which is a great way to reduce the spread of the virus.
- To avoid the spread of the virus, you should only use new moving boxes and moving supplies
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6. High risk: Borrowing moving boxes and supplies from other people
The Coronavirus can survive on surfaces, including cardboard boxes. Don’t borrow moving boxes and supplies as it may carry the virus over to you and your family. Opt for unused boxes and supplies and disinfect where and as possible.
7. Neglecting to sanitize your moving truck rental before driving it
Are you renting a moving truck for a DIY move? Ensure you disinfect door handles, the steering wheel, seatbelt, seats,s and other parts of the moving truck that you will be using. You never can be too careful!
8. Not disinfecting after the move
After unloading all of the boxes, you should disinfect all surfaces in the home, wipe down cardboard boxes and disinfect anything else that was handled by the movers. A deep clean can ensure the safety of you and your family.
How does car shipping work during the COVID pandemic?
Auto transport is a specialized service that requires detailed skills in the field. Generally, brokers are a good place to start if you are looking for auto transportation during your move.
What to expect when using auto transport services
Cars are usually transported via exterior transport options. So, how do you go about shipping a car? You start by searching for affordable and reliable auto transport companies that can give you an accurate quote.
Factors that will influence your move range from the weight of your car, the distance of your travel, and the date of your move, to name a few. Once you have an estimation that suits your budget and requirements, go ahead and book your auto transport company.
TIP: Remove everything from the interior of your vehicle to avoid loss or damage.
You will more than likely be asked to take photos of the interior and exterior of your car, which is to be submitted to the auto transport company or broker. It’s always a good idea to make copies of the keys.
Precautions during pickup
Apply the same general safety measures when picking a vehicle up, such as wearing a mask and gloves, maintaining adequate distance, and proper sanitization. Although it is unlikely that your vehicle has been exposed to the virus on the back of the truck, it is still important to apply the same precautionary measures. Disinfectant wipes on hand are a great idea to ensure you can disinfect any surface at any time.
Top tips for shipping a car
Get these few things done and shipping your car to your new home will be a breeze.
- Verify the broker, mover, or auto transport company
You need to ensure that the broker, mover, or transport company you are working with has valid, current registration with the Department of Transport.
- Preparing your car
Prepare your car well for the move. From emptying your gas tank, making copies of any keys, ensuring everything has been removed from the interior of the car, and more. There are quite a few processes involved here, so be sure to get it right.
- Verify all necessary certification
This includes your auto transport broker’s certification again. You also need to check the company’s shipping license and ensure that all necessary documentation has been covered. Ask for a copy of the full set of documentation. And before signing anything, you need to be certain of all the terms and conditions involved.
- Get a ‘bill of lading’
It is a document or report about the condition of your vehicle after the auto transport provider has received your car. In essence, it is a summary of all of the important information you need: It’ll include the carrier’s name, your broker’s name, the description of your car, the conditions of your contract, and any special instructions you might have had before entrusting your car to the broker or carrier.
In a nutshell, you now know that you can relocate safely during COVID-19. This guide aims to give you all the information you need to be able to plan and execute your move in the safest method possible considering the risk of the virus.