The coronavirus pandemic is unlike anything our generation has ever seen. Not only has the outbreak drastically affected travel and freedom of movement, it’s also affected jobs, lives, and the global economy.

Throughout the chaos and changing guidelines of the COVID-19 crisis, life must still go on and some level of normality must be maintained. That means households still need to move and students still need to relocate as campuses close. Some businesses are even taking advantage of orders to temporarily shut to relocate their offices or storefronts without impacting business.

If you’re facing the daunting challenge of moving during the coronavirus crisis, rest easy: moving companies are still able to help you as an essential business and they are taking a range of precautions to ensure your move is easy, safe, and virus-free.

Here’s an overview of what you should know about how coronavirus is affecting relocating, what movers are doing during the crisis, and what you can do to make your move safer and easier.

Keep in mind guidelines and state rules are changing rapidly. Please check with official government websites for up-to-date information. (all information herein as of the date of this post)

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Are Movers Still Moving During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Absolutely. Despite shutdowns among businesses and shelter-in-place orders in many states, many people still need to move. In many cases, moving isn’t an option and can’t be postponed: your lease may be ending, you’re already in the middle of a move, you’re starting a new job, or you’re closing on a new home.

While some moving companies have seen a temporary reduction in moving requests, others have seen an uptick in service, depending on the area.

Moving companies are also still operating and hard at work in every state. In most states, movers are considered an “essential service” and allowed to continue to operate provided everyone follows social distancing guidelines. No state has currently barred moving companies from shutting down, even in areas under the strictest guidelines like New York City where vehicles with commercial plates can still move freely.

When states and cities order closure of “non-essential businesses,” they may or may not give specific examples of which types of businesses can continue to operate. As a general rule, though, non-essential businesses are those that revolve around social functions and interaction or services of convenience. So, are movers considered essential services? Even when clear guidelines are not provided, moving is generally considered essential. Moving Companies fall under the “logistics” and “transportation” categories in almost every state.

As an example, the New York executive order mandating the closure of non-essential businesses, essential businesses include pharmacies, grocery stores, food service (without dine-in service), telecommunication, airports and transportation infrastructure; services including trash collection, mail, and shipping services; and news media. 

At the federal level, shipping businesses are also considered essential.

The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management said specifically that residents don’t need to cancel moving plans and can move freely but should practice social distancing and self-isolate after arriving in their new home. In the city, delivery, moving, and moving truck rental companies are operating as essential services.

The Health Officer of San Mateo County in California, on the other hand, discourages but does not ban moving. The county says that moving when you have already obtained a new home before the order was issued is considered essential travel.

There is one pressing issue you may have as you prepare for moving during COVID-19: some apartments are canceling move-ins, especially in hard-hit areas like New York City.

Solstice Residential Group which advises the boards of over 80 buildings in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn prohibited all moving into/out of buildings and large deliveries. This included canceling all scheduled moves and banning the delivery of furniture requiring the use of an elevator or more than one trip. Apartment showings have also been canceled.

In its latest guidance to property owners, the National Apartment Association has not recommended cancelling apartment move-ins although other precautions have been encouraged. The NAA stated there will likely be fewer move-ins and move-outs, however.

One sector of moving has been temporarily shut down until mid-May: military moves.

So, in the majority of situations and cities, moving is allowed, continues to happen and is an essential service.

The Defense Department has halted military moves until at least mid-May by banning domestic travel for personnel and families. Moving companies have been ordered to take no action on the pack-out and pick-up of scheduled moves.

So YES – People are still moving during this Coronavirus pandemic and moving companies are still performing moves.

Bryan Bloom is the moving industries’ digital marketing expert and his company helps movers dominate online through SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (paid advertising) as well as website design.