If you’re thinking about scheduling a long-distance move in the near future, it’s important to know if the movers themselves will be classified as essential workers, and how that might impact the procedures of your move.
What Exactly Is An Essential Worker?
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, this term was a lot looser in terms of describing certain industries of workers. It started out as a main focus on healthcare workers but quickly began describing those who performed “essential services” for the continuation of the economy and society while under shelter in place orders. These definitions still vary state to state, but there are some specific industries recognized on a federal level.
The United States Department of Homeland Security notes essential workers as being “those who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continue critical infrastructure operations”.
The main industries recognized by most states and the federal government include:
- Food And Agriculture
- Industrial, Commercial, Residential Facilities & Service Industry
- Emergency Services
- Energy Sector
- Water And Waste Management
- Chemical Sector
- Communications And IT
- Government And Community-Based Services
- Transportation, Warehouse, And Delivery
- Critical Manufacturing.
Are Long-Distance Movers Considered Essential Workers?
While there are some gray areas when looking at definitions state by state, long-distance movers are in fact considered essential workers, as they fit into both the “residential facilities & service industry” as well as the “Transportation, Warehouse, And Delivery” industry.
This distinction allows long-distance moving companies to stay open to serve the public, so they won’t have to face any sorts of lockdowns or limitations on the work they offer during the pandemic, compared to restaurants, music venues, and bars.
While this is good news for most people trying to find a long-distance moving company to work with, it’s important to know that with this pandemic, business capacities and offered services can change fairly rapidly, and it’s up to the consumer to keep abreast of company policy when planning out your next move.
Are All Moving Services Still Available?
One of the important pieces of information for long-distance movers to consider is if they will still be able to offer all of their services during the pandemic. For example, any moving company that offers auto transport or storage will need to keep up with the latest covid rules and regulations, like disinfecting surfaces used by employees and wearing masks while in clients’ homes and while transporting clients’ belongings. Each state has different rules regarding how long a health care worker or moving company employee needs to wear a mask, and how often they have to clean certain surfaces, so anyone in a work-related role will need to be aware of these regulations.
If you’re seeking out services from either a long-distance moving company or storage facility in the next year, make sure that they are prepared for the pandemic and that they’ll be able to provide you with all of the services you need. Also, as a customer, you should be aware of what policies that your long-distance mover requires of its customers so that you also aren’t putting the employees in any danger as well. Most companies by now have an up-to-date covid 19 policy and will let you know upfront if they have any specific rules that need to be followed prior to the first meet-up on moving day in person.
Are All Storage Services Still Available?
If you’re looking for a long-distance storage facility, they’ll also be affected by the pandemic. Like with moving companies, any storage facility that handles customers’ belongings during the pandemic will need to make sure that they are prepared for any new requirements that may be set for them. Moving companies that offer storage services will be under this same level of potential scrutiny. Remember that if you’re storing any items, you may need to have them picked up by the moving company sooner than you planned, as well as pay for the storage fees that you’ve already paid in full. Be sure to follow up with your long-distance moving company to be aware of how they are preparing for the pandemic so your move is not interrupted.
Are Packing Services Still Available?
While packing services will be able to continue offering their services in the near future, they will also be under the same restrictions that moving companies and storage facilities will. Packing employees are always supposed to wear protective gear when handling items, but this might be limited as well. It is still unclear if you will need this type of protection while you are packing boxes for a move across town or across the country. There may also be changes made to requirements for disinfecting the containers that your belongings are kept in before they’re packed up.
Even if your potential moving company advertises packing and unpacking services on their website, you should call and consult with them to confirm that these services have not been impacted by the covid-19 pandemic.
Be Prepared For Moving Cancellations And Delays Due To COVID-19
When an outbreak occurs, some people may choose to cancel their move altogether because of their concern for their health. This is often seen in the healthcare field because of the constant risk they’re under from all sorts of potential infections.
If you’re a moving company or long-distance mover, be prepared for cancellations and delays in your schedule as a result of this pandemic.
In that same topic, if you’re a mover looking to work with a new long-distance or cross country moving company, you should also be prepared for cancellations or delays in your moving company’s schedule, as the effects of this pandemic are causing delays across all industries, particularly those that deal with long-distance transport.
What Do I Need To Do Before My Move?
As an essential worker, as well as a customer, there are a few things you’re going to want to make sure you do in order to prepare for your upcoming move.
Before your contract is even signed, you will want to be sure that your long-distance moving company or storage facility is prepared for the pandemic. Research any company, as well as your state’s own regulations for health care workers and moving companies, to make sure that their employees will be able to provide you with all of the services you’re looking for.
It’s also a good idea to check in with your long-distance moving company two weeks before the move. If they offer storage services, you’ll want to clean out your items in the storage locker before the move. A better idea is to make sure that you have a good amount of time to pack or organize before the move so you’re not scrambling to get your things together. If you have your items ready to go, it can make the meeting with your moving company much easier.
If you’re in a contaminated area, it’s a good idea to do your research before meeting with your movers to evaluate their level of preparedness and emergency response. When in doubt, you should always follow the CDC and your state’s guidelines on all matters related to the coronavirus.
Do Long Distance Movers Have To Social Distance?
Most long-distance moving companies encourage their teams to social distance from their clients and promote handling paperwork outside whenever possible. This will of course vary state by state, so you’ll want to check with the individual company that you are moving with if social distancing is of big concern when it comes to planning the packing, storing, and moving of your belongings.
What Are Moving Companies Doing Differently During The Pandemic?
Many moving companies as essential businesses across the country have certain rules in place for business as usual as far as handling of paperwork, working with their clients, and cleaning and unloading the moving trucks. Safety is always the primary concern, so you’ll want to make sure that you know what they are doing differently. Some of the most notable changes include:
- Disinfecting of surfaces after moving you into your new home
- Following federal and state guidelines in terms of building capacity, wearing masks, and social distancing to mitigate the spread of covid-19
- Keeping trucks, storage facilities, and warehouses equipped with gloves and hand sanitizer or disinfectant/bleach wipes
- Many moving companies and van lines are also allowing for facetime consultations to establish your move date and moving quote, making it safer for everyone involved.
- Regularly sanitizing frequently used tools and areas like truck beds, dollies, and storage units.
- Prices may also vary depending on your moving experience, and the availability of your moving crew during this difficult time.
- Moving companies may make updates to their cancellation policies and FAQs, as well as changes to their usual moving estimates as regulations and shutdowns the state level are constantly changing.
As you can see, long-distance movers are considered to be essential workers. This gets them some solid benefits in terms of covid testing, prevention, and vaccination priority, and also means that they’re less likely to experience strict regulations that could get in the way of your moving plans. If you are moving between two states, you should work with a long-distance mover that is prepared to accommodate the rules and regulations of the beginning and end state, just to be careful. Always defer back to the CDC and federal government’s guidelines above all else.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Move During The Coronavirus?
While it’s certainly a complicated time to move, there really isn’t much of a reason not to during the coronavirus, as long as the company that you’re working with has a moving team that’s committed to following guidelines, using sanitization regularly, and meeting all of your needs as a concerned customer.
What Is The Safest Way To Move During Covid-19?
The safest way to move during Covid-19 is to adhere to your state and local guidelines for every aspect of the move. This will likely include wearing masks while in contact with your movers and getting tested for covid if you’re ever in direct contact with your movers. You should make sure that whichever mover you choose to work with also has an up-to-date covid-19 policy that they follow.
Are Movers Essential In New York City?
Movers are considered essential workers in New York City, meaning that they are still in business to help you with any moves you may be planning in the near or distant future.
Is It Legal To Move During Lockdown?
Yes, it is perfectly legal to move during lockdown. Lockdowns do vary from state to state and city to city, but for the most part, moving is considered an essential activity that should not be prohibited during shelter at home orders.