How To Move Safely Under Covid-19 Alerts
After the Prime Minister announced the increase to covid-19 alert level 3 on March 23 2020 with a further escalation to level 4 within 48 hours, we fielded a large amount of enquiries from customers in the following hours.
While we do not claim by any stretch of the imagination to be experts in this area we do believe that the thrust behind the levels should be easily understandable when viewed through the lens of a health and safety perspective.
Levels 1 and 2 we believe are relevant to ‘identification of hazard’ and ‘mitigation step up in protocols required’ respectively. At these levels we would expect that both our employees and our customers would start to become conscious of the need to heighten basic hygiene practices such as washing hands regularly along with strict adherence to common courteous behavior surrounding illnesses such as sneezing into the crook of the arm or informing people of sickness like cold and flu.
At these stages of alert we should all start to be very conscious of the need to wipe surfaces down with appropriate household cleaners and disinfectants while members of the household are going in and out as usual as well as stepping up at level 2 alert to more stringent awareness, such as washing clothes and person as soon as returning home, being aware of social distancing and exercising more precaution in shared public spaces, doorknobs, eating establishments, handrails, shopping trolleys and elevator buttons etc.
How does this relate to moving house?
At levels 1 and 2 (and above)
Make sure your movers have access to hand washing facilities.
In a pre Covid-19 world this may have seemed strange or downright insulting to confront your movers as soon as they arrive with a bar of soap and water! I mean come on … scrub up you dirty dogs?
As movers a lot of time is spent on the road between hand washing facilities and a good 40 second plus WHO approved scrub up isn’t that easy to achieve on a truck. Any movers worth their salt will be absolutely stoked that you have thought of a scrub up station for both yours and their protection ( this could be the laundry area or even an out door tap with adequate room and drainage to get a good virus destroying soap on).
While we at Auckland Moving Guys will be using PPE (correctly) we will insist that you provide at minimum an area with a tap for scrub up and down for our personnel, we carry our own soap and disposable towels on board and just need the faucet in a stitch. We also believe that under covid-19 alerts any company that doesn’t take these or similar measures is being negligent in its duties.
Wipe down surfaces pre and post move
All flat surfaces of moving items where cough or exhalation droplets can settle on should be wiped down with a disinfectant cleaner prior to and post moving for your protection.
All handles on moving items should also be wiped down and not used for the period of time it takes for the kind of disinfectant used.
There are a number of disinfectants that are highly effective at killing the SARS bug from common methylated spirits to a good old soapy rub a dub down with everyday dish washing detergent.
Bagging and boxing everything
Bag up and box everything as much as possible, if all your items are bagged boxed and sealed the risk of transmission is significantly reduced. Especially if deboxing/bagging is conducted with mindful personal hygienic protocols.
Observe social distancing
We’ve all had a lot of awareness about this one over the last few days and weeks, try to keep a safe social distance between yourself and personnel. Don’t be afraid to pull movers up if you notice things like bad cough or sneeze edict or in fact if you notice excessive coughing, runny noise or constant sneezing that indicates someone may in fact be displaying symptoms of illness.
Level 3 Alert
During a level 3 alert the step up in protocols to mitigate risk should be highly evident and visibly on the table from your moving company.
Moving house during a level 3 alert should not just be “business as usual” and the communication between yourself and your moving company should be fairly in depth and cover the risk mitigation scheme required to get your household moved safely with minimal risk to all involved.
Defer moving if possible
The underlying principle at level 3 is to defer as much non essential movement, contact or activity as is possible to reduce the possible transmission rate of the virus.
We are sure that in the coming days there will be plenty of legal challenges as to what constitutes “essential” under a level 3 alert, but from an Auckland Moving Guys perspective we have applied to our mitigation policy the following meaning of essential:
- Movement of any items that are required to keep supply chains that are essential to human welfare such as food and medical supplies.
- Movement of items that are essential to keep the economy of New Zealand running, in all instances Auckland Moving Guys will try to defer jobs until the alert level is lowered, the onus will be on the customer to prove in written form that it cannot be deferred.
- Any moves that are instructed by authorities such as The Police, Health officers, other duly authorized government departments etc.
In other words if your move is required to complete a legal transaction that is essential to the continuance of the sale and transfer of land requiring mortgage banking and lending then we consider this to be an essential service to the economy.
If your move is just an item from TradeMe (unless its a hygiene issue such as your fridge or washer has broken down) or some stuff up to the batch that you can do yourself or you can wait till the alert level lowers, then please do not be offended if we refuse to take your job on.
In all instances under level 3 we have a fairly high standard of protocols that will mean we will require more co operation and we most likely will not be able to offer the same comprehensive moving service that we would otherwise produce under no alert or levels 1 – 2.
At level 3 the need for PPE, chemicals and protocols are triggered. As these are in short supply and becoming increasingly more expensive moving under level 3 alerts is more expensive.
Auckland Moving Guys has developed a fairly comprehensive risk mitigation policy for working under covid-19 alerts up to level 3 for the general public. This policy requires acknowledged co operation between the customer and the business to reduce the risk to all involved. Should you require our services during a level 3 alert we will supply you with all the customer relevant information and request that you acknowledge acceptance of your obligations during the alert.
If you think we have got something wrong or would like to add your advice then please feel free to leave a comment and join the conversation.
“We are all in this together and together we can stamp covid-19 out”
Managing director of Auckland Moving Guys Limited