Can I Move During the COVID-19 Outbreak?

Are you wondering if you can move during the COVID-19 outbreak? Move.org helps you understand how the pandemic affects moving.

FAQ about moving during COVID-19

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ASK THE EXPERTS

ASK THE EXPERTS

While the Move.org team is keeping an eye on how COVID-19 affects moving, we are not health experts or a source of news on the pandemic. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s or World Health Organization’s websites for up-to-date information.

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What is COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.” The virus manifests in common symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath and can be fatal.1

There are more than 18.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide as of this writing,2 and the CDC reports more than 156,000 US deaths.3 Accordingly, local, state, and federal governments are taking steps to restrict the gathering of individuals, and these measures can affect your ability to move.

What is social distancing, and how could it impact my move?

Social distancing refers to keeping your distance from everyone—not just those with symptoms—to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

“What we need most right now . . . is a full implementation of social distancing,” wrote Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, on March 19. “Simply avoiding symptomatic people will not go far enough to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In particular, the US government recommends that individuals maintain a distance of six feet from other individuals—or about the same distance in which COVID-19 spreads from person to person.4

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HOW ELSE CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM COVID-19?

HOW ELSE CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM COVID-19?

In addition to social distancing, the CDC recommends you (1) clean your hands often, (2) avoid touching your face, (3) sneeze or cough into a tissue, and (4) disinfect frequently used items.5

Can I move to a new state during COVID-19?

You can probably move to a new state during COVID-19, but we recommend you check with your moving company and local government offices to see if your move has been affected by orders restricting travel and gatherings.

Guidelines and restrictions vary state to state. While local governments can give you counsel on when it is okay to travel, the CDC identifies two activities that may qualify as essential travel:6

  1. Travel to provide medical or home care
  2. Travel necessary for a job considered an essential service

If you need to move to another state during COVID-19, consult state or local health departments. Keep in mind that the CDC recommends limiting travel and practicing social distancing.

Be sure to check with the state you are moving to, the state you are moving from, and any state you plan to travel through on your way.

Should I move during COVID-19?

While you may be allowed to move during COVID-19, that doesn’t mean it’s always in your best interest—or in the best interest of others.

The CDC recommends you consider six things before traveling within the US:

  1. Is COVID-19 spreading in the area where you’re going?
  2. Will you or your travel companion(s) be in close contact with others during your trip?
  3. Are you or your travel companion(s) more likely to get severe illness if you get COVID-19?
  4. Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you are told to stay home for 14 days for self-monitoring or if you get sick with COVID-19?
  5. Do you live with someone who is older or has a serious, chronic medical condition?
  6. Is COVID-19 spreading where I live when I return from travel?

If you can’t postpone your move, these same questions can help you plan your relocation to be as safe as possible.

Can I be evicted if I don’t move?

We understand that life doesn’t stop just because of COVID-19—and others do too.

Many governments have temporarily halted evictions and foreclosures during the outbreak. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, for example, has suspended both for borrowers for 60 days. The state of New York has a 90-day ban on evictions and foreclosures, and San Francisco has instituted similar policies protecting small businesses.

Some jurisdictions may also be encouraging landlords to consider deferred rent payments. We recommend you contact your local elected officials, housing authorities, and financial institutions to learn about the laws where you live.

Will gloves help if I move during COVID-19?

If you have to move during COVID-19, gloves will help protect your hands from injury, but they aren’t recommended for preventing the virus. Rather than help prevent the spread of COVID-19, gloves can actually create another surface for the virus to live on.7

“I don’t think (gloves) are going to do anything but give people a false sense of security, waste time, and create more demand for something that’s unnecessary,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, told TODAY.

What is the best way to disinfect my personal belongings?

The CDC recommends cleaning frequently used items and surfaces as often as possible with “household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions.” 8

You can also check out a list of disinfectants the CDC indicates are most likely to be effective against COVID-19, including Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Lysol® Disinfectant Spray, and Virasept.

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MAKE HOMEMADE DISINFECTANT

MAKE HOMEMADE DISINFECTANT

You can make a homemade bleach solution by mixing five tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water or four teaspoons of bleach per quart of water.9

We also recommend thoroughly disinfecting your new home before you unpack and settle in. Bring that same selection of disinfectants, and follow the CDC’s guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing your space.

How can I minimize contact if I have to get a moving estimate?

If you have to move, consider getting a virtual in-home estimate rather than have movers come to your home. Many moving companies can give you an estimate simply by looking at a video of your home, or by doing a virtual walkthrough on apps like FaceTime and Skype.

It’s easy to maintain social distancing if your movers aren’t even in the house.

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, each of our best moving van line companies offers virtual estimates:

How else could COVID-19 affect my move?

The full consequences of COVID-19 aren’t known, but there are several ways the pandemic could potentially affect your move:

  • Temporary government orders in the cities you are moving to and from could prevent you from moving.
  • Temporary government orders could prevent you from eating at restaurants en route to your new home.
  • Potential grocery store shortages could prevent you from stocking up the fridge at your new home.
  • Widespread transmission of COVID-19 and moving company policies could limit the number of workers available to help with your move.
  • Social distancing guidelines could prevent family, friends, and hired labor from gathering in groups of 10 or more and standing within six feet of each other while loading and unloading your moving truck.
  • Money received via a federal government economic stimulus plan could be saved for moving expenses when life gets back to normal.10
  • An increase in demand can result in hours-long hold times to reach customer service representatives to set up internet services, ask mortgage questions, and possibly even book your movers.

Do moving companies provide COVID-19 deals?

Moving companies are responding to COVID-19 in a variety of ways. See reviews for our best rental truck companies, best moving container companies, and best car shipping companies to get the latest information.

Where do I get the latest information about moving during coronavirus?

Move.org continues to monitor how COVID-19 affects your ability to move, and we update our articles weekly. For general updates about COVID-19, we recommend you go to www.coronavirus.gov.

What are tips for moving on unemployment?

Use unemployment insurance benefits to move

The CARES Act gives unemployment insurance recipients an extra $600 per week through the end of July 2020.11 You can set aside money from your unemployment benefits to move, hire packing help, or even ship a car.

File for unemployment in your new state

You can still qualify for unemployment benefits if you move to a new state, but you need to contact the unemployment office in both states. Just be aware that the wait times are hours long, and it may take several days to reach a representative.

Get help if your lease is about to end

If your lease ends during the pandemic while you’re receiving unemployment benefits, you can do a few things:

  • Know the law. Many states and counties have created regulations that prohibit landlords from evicting you during COVID-19. Check with your local elected officials to see what your options are.
  • Contact your landlord. Communication is key. Talk to your landlord about the situation and see if there are any options for compromise.
  • Save some cash. Money may be tight, but try to set aside what you can from each week’s unemployment benefits to put toward emergency housing expenses at the end of your lease.

Try to defer your mortgage payments

It’s important to pay your mortgage if you can. But if there’s no way to pay that bill, the CARES Act offers relief for federally backed mortgages:

  • Mortgage forbearance. You may be able to pause or reduce your payments for a limited amount of time—but you are still responsible for missed payments. Depending on the loan provider, the full amount could even be due as soon as the forbearance is over. Check with your mortgage servicer for more details.
  • Foreclosure prevention. Mortgage foreclosure laws differ by state, but federal law prohibits a lender from starting the foreclosure process until your loan is at least 120 days past due.

You can see if your mortgage is federally backed here.

If you don’t have a mortgage backed by the federal government, you may still have options. Contact your mortgage servicer directly to learn more—but be aware that there will likely be long wait times. The federal government recommends you be prepared to ask the following three questions:12

  1. What options are available to help temporarily reduce or suspend my payments?
  2. Are there forbearance, loan modification, or other options applicable to my situation?
  3. Can you waive late fees on my mortgage account?

Are moving companies open during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Are movers working right now? You may not be able to sit down at your favorite restaurant during the COVID-19 outbreak, but many moving companies are still open for business.

For those companies that remain open, some limitations may apply such as reduced operating hours or the closure of select locations. Click on “Learn more” in the tables below to see each company’s caveats.

Car shipping companies open during COVID-19 outbreak

CompanyStatusAdditional info
AmeriFreightOpenLearn more
Montway Auto TransportOpenLearn more
Sherpa Auto TransportOpenLearn more
Ship a Car DirectOpenLearn more
uShip
OpenLearn more

Interstate moving companies open during COVID-19 outbreak

CompanyStatusAdditional info
Allied Van LinesOpenLearn more
American Van LinesOpenLearn more
Expedia Van LinesOpenLearn more
First National Van LinesOpenLearn more
International Van Lines
OpenLearn more
Interstate Moving & Relocation GroupOpenLearn more
North American Van Lines
OpenLearn more
PODSOpenLearn more
Silver Star Moving GroupOpenLearn more
United Van LinesOpenLearn more

Junk removal companies open during COVID-19 outbreak

CompanyStatusAdditional info
1-800-GOT-JUNK
OpenLearn more
College Hunks Hauling Junk
OpenLearn more
LoadUpOpenLearn more
Waste Management Dumpster Rentals
OpenLearn more

Motorcycle shipping companies open during COVID-19 outbreak

CompanyStatusAdditional info
AmeriFreightOpenLearn more
Montway Auto TransportOpenLearn more
Motorcyle Shippers
OpenLearn more
uShip
OpenLearn more

Moving labor companies open during COVID-19 outbreak

CompanyStatusAdditional info
DollyOpenLearn more
HireAHelperOpenLearn more
TaskRabbitOpenLearn more
Status Additional info
Open Learn more
Open Learn more
Open Learn more

Storage companies open during COVID-19 outbreak

CompanyStatusAdditional info
CubeSmartOpenLearn more
Extra Space StorageOpenLearn more
Public StorageOpenLearn more
U-HaulOpenLearn more
Status Additional info
Open Learn more
Open Learn more
Open Learn more
Open Learn more

Truck rental companies open during COVID-19 outbreak

CompanyStatusAdditional info
BudgetOpenLearn more
EnterpriseOpenLearn more
PenskeOpenLearn more
The Home DepotOpenLearn more
U-HaulOpenLearn more
Status Additional info
Open Learn more
Open Learn more
Open Learn more
Open Learn more
Open Learn more

Recommended resources

When you feel it’s safe to move, we’ve identified some of the best companies to help you:

People also asked . . .

Sources

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and You
  2. World Health Organization, “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 198.” Accessed August 06, 2020.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Cases in the U.S.” Accessed August 06, 2020.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): How to Protect Yourself
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): How to Protect Yourself
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Coronavirus and Travel in the United States
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Clean and Disinfect
  8. The Sacramento Bee, “Can Wearing Gloves Help Prevent Coronavirus? Here’s What Health Experts Say
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Clean and Disinfect
  10. Internal Revenue Service, “Economic Impact Payments: What You Need to Know
  11. US Department of Labor, “Unemployment Insurance Relief During COVID-19 Outbreak
  12. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “Guide to Coronavirus Mortgage Relief Options

About Kurt Manwaring

Kurt Manwaring
Kurt Manwaring brings nearly a decade’s worth of research experience as a business consultant to the Move.org team. He specializes in taking complicated issues (like moving) and presenting them in a way that everyone can understand. His writing has been featured in hundreds of publications, including USA Today, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Heavy, Slate, and Yahoo! Lifestyle. He would love to hear about your moving experiences and questions at kurt@move.org.