How to move safely during COVID-19

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Are removalists considered essential service?

Australian and NSW Government guidelines require people to avoid all essential travel and for businesses only to remain open if they are considered essential. Moving is part of the Road Freight and Transport industry which has been classified as essential by the Australian government. As for essential travel, this usually applies to medical reason and getting supplies but does this apply to moving home?

You may wonder if your own move is essential. Perhaps you work overseas or interstate and going home for lockdown to stay with your family is important. Your business or office might have closed, and you need to pack things and put them into storage. You might be living with elderly or high-risk family members and know that moving out will help protect them from COVID-19. You might have recently bought your first house and paying a mortgage while continuing to rent a separate apartment would be ridiculous.

Due to COVID-19, customers who have been stood down and cannot afford to pay the same rent have had to move out as well as landlords who were travelling are now moving back in. You might be stuck overseas with a studio full of your furniture and home contents without any way of getting back into Australia. In this case, you would need a packing service as well as long term storage from us.

We have just described the most common customers that we have moved in the past 2 months and why the Coronavirus has forced them to. In our experience, the pandemic has caused a lot of necessary relocations.

The coronavirus isn’t the only trigger for a move to become essential. With or without a pandemic, life goes on and people move because of family breakdown, contracts ending, a change in career or education and moving is still necessary for you. We continue to work and serve all our customers in these times.

How to prepare for moving, during pandemic?

If you must move during this or any pandemic we recommend you follow these guidelines:

  1. If you are feeling unwell self-isolation is best. Try to defer your move until after the quarantine or if you must have your things moved, quarantine yourself at a hotel and ask a healthy person outside your household to arrange entry for the removalists.
  2. Please notify the us if you are unwell. We have all sorts of customers, including elderly and high risk and it would be irresponsible to keep your sickness to yourself. In general, if you are unwell, we would reschedule the move until you have tested negative for the virus or 14 days after the end of your symptoms.
  3.  Wash any kitchen items in hot water. Wash your hands before and after packing. Disinfect all furniture, appliances, boxes and points of contact (doorknobs, drawer knobs or pulls, etc) before the movers arrive.
  4. Leave some handwash out and allow packers and movers to wash their hands before and while they work. (Please do not ask our movers to use gloves as this makes it harder to handle furniture and appliances)
  5. Provide masks for our men if you are high risk or immunocompromised or you can also request a non-contact move for simple pick ups and deliveries.
  6. Deep clean your new home by disinfecting high contact areas (doors, cabinet and drawer pulls, taps, etc), using Lysol or other disinfectant sprays and vacuuming and mopping floors/shampooing carpets. Consider getting professional cleaners to deep clean before moving in as they will probably do a better job than you and will have the know how to keep their staff protected.

How to avoid unnecessary contact with packers, movers and cleaners?

Some customers are high risk or immunocompromised and must avoid contact with our teams and other ancillary services: cleaners, storage providers, etc. Allow packers, movers and cleaners to wash their hands often. Avoid being in an enclosed space with the removalists for too long. We recommend labelling every box and item clearly and emailing us a room plan so we the team can work without supervision and instruction. Stay in a different room or better yet, in the garden or balcony, while the packers/removalists work and if you must be in the same area as they are, stay at least 1.5m from them at all times. 

Cleaners and packers can often work independently with minimal supervision. Customers often set aside items they want to pack themselves and leave us to pack everything else for hours with only 10 minutes of instruction time before the packing job.If your move is simple, for example, you are only moving between 1-3 items, or everything is packed and just needs to be vacated, we can organize a no-contact move for you. This would involve our teams working without supervision but with a phone contact in case of enquiries, preplanning access through a lockbox or another contact and prepayment through electronic bank transfer.

How do movers work during this time?

Our removalists are the backbone of the business and we cannot work well if a single part is broken. Since January 2020 none of our staff have travelled either overseas or domestically. We regularly check the health and wellbeing of our staff and remove them from the roster if they present symptoms unless they have tested negative for the Novel Coronavirus.

These are the other steps we have taken to ensure that we are working responsibly and maintain the health and wellbeing of our employees and customers:Every truck and van has disinfectant and hand sanitizer. The packers and movers use them before and after each move for themselves and their assigned vehicle.

  • Our teams have been instructed to maintain social distance from customers when working.
  • We are requesting customers to disinfect surfaces and contact points prior to their move and maintain social distancing while the men work.
  • Packers and movers have been trained to request handwashing.
  • We provide non-contact forms of payment such as prepayment through bank transfer or receiving card details over the phone or from a safe distance.
  • We are cleaning high contact areas for our teams including but not limited to: access points at our office and storage facility.
  • They can wear masks if provided by the customer though these can make it harder for the men to do their job. We recommend staying in a different room or leaving the house while our packers work as a better alternative.

Please stay safe and ask us for more information If you have further questions and concerns.

The word from V-Move Removals owner

I know, that moving during covid-19 can be fearful, and Australia is a difficult time, but we are open for business as long as state governments let us. I also know that many people are struggling during these horrendous times and may have to use a car or campervan to relocate locally or interstate, but remember we can always provide a professional relocation service when you move to your holiday house in Blue mountains or Nelson Bay. May the force be with you.

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