If you’re planning to move house in the near future, the announcement of a new national lockdown is likely to be concerning news, writes Catherine Byrom, business development director at Andrew Porter Ltd, one of the UK’s leading independent removals firms.
During the first lockdown last year, movers had to put their plans on hold which caused the property market to grind to a halt.
However, this time, the government has announced that house moves can continue, despite the tighter restrictions.
Home removals firms can still visit properties to give quotations and help with the moving process, but there may be some changes to the way they do things.
When you are choosing a removals company, it is a good idea to ask them what measures they are taking to protect their staff and customers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
For example, at Andrew Porter Ltd, we have introduced a number of precautions to keep everyone safe while moving house. When our staff visit a property to give an estimate, they will wear a face mask and we ask our clients to use a face covering as well.
Removals crews must also follow social distancing, ideally remaining at least two metres from another person. When this is not possible, they must maintain a distance of at least 1m and wear a face covering.
Before we visit a household, we contact all our customers in advance, to check whether anyone is experiencing any coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. If they are, any work must be delayed until after the self-isolation has ended.
One other measure we have introduced is a buddy system which means the same crew members work together as a team when moving bulky items and sharing a vehicle. This reduces the amount of contact different people have with each other.
Minimising the risk
If you have booked a removal firm to help with your move, here are some things you can do to minimise the risk for both yourself and the crew:
1. Discuss any safety procedures in advance – check with the removals company what policies they have in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Firms should all have a plan of action designed to keep everyone safe.
2. If you get any coronavirus symptoms close to moving day, alert your removal firm straight away.
3. Use household cleaning products to disinfect surfaces and furniture that your removal crew is likely to come into contact with during the move. Carry out this cleaning before they arrive.
4. Open all internal doors throughout your property before your removal crew come into your home. This means they won’t have to keep touching door handles and it should help speed up the moving process. Make sure you also open some windows so your home is well-ventilated.
5. Make sure you have some hand sanitiser available for people to use during the move if they need to. It is also a good idea to have a clean towel or some disposable paper towels available for the crew so they can properly wash and dry their hands when they arrive. Do not expect them to use the same hand towel used by the household as it is possible to pick up the virus from surfaces and make sure it is washed after use.
6. Keep face-to-face conversations with your crew to a minimum by discussing your needs with them over the phone before they arrive. If you do need to talk about an issue, it may be a good idea to hold the conversation outside and make sure you stay at least two metres apart.