As the coronavirus pandemic continues, moving companies on Vancouver Island say they are taking extra precautions to ensure customers and employees don’t contract or spread the deadly disease.
Moving companies are among the businesses that are included on the province’s list of essential services, allowing them to operate and help people with their move.
But while movers are operating, it isn’t business as usual, as many companies are doing everything from cleaning their vehicles more frequently to wearing masks, in order to reduce the risk for their clients and employees.
Brandon Anderson, owner of Take A Load Off Moving, told CHEK News that his company continues to operate but have rebooked many of their clients and are only serving those who must move.
“We would like to all stay home but there are some people that we cannot leave stranded and with their belongings on their front lawn,” Anderson said in an e-mailed statement.
Take A Load Off Moving are cleaning their trucks before and after every shift and using heat-treated moving blankets. Although employees normally wear gloves and will continue to wear them, they won’t be entering apartment buildings, according to Anderson.
“During these times we know it’s very hard for a lot of people. Most importantly our elderly and those with compromised immune systems,” Anderson said in the e-mail, later, adding. “We also are in daily communication with our MLA and mayor while exercising very high caution for everyone’s safety until stated otherwise.
Declan Carrol, owner and operator of Clydesdale Moving, said they’re asking customers to practice physical distancing and to only have one family member supervise movers while they’re working.
“We are in compliance with the health director’s order on social distancing. We have also waived our cancellation fee for short notice cancellations due to illness,” Carrol said in an e-mail to CHEK News.
Clydesdale Moving, which employs around 25 people on a contractual basis, is also asking customers whether they have experienced any flu-like symptoms prior to them entering a home, according to Carrol. He said employees are wearing masks and are being told to wash their hands frequently during a job.
“I am asking my movers to wash their hands frequently while working,” Carrol said. “We already do full pad and wrap service so the items will be covered before being moved.”
Victoria-based Hour Movers told CHEK News the following social and physical distancing orders, by trying to be at least six feet away from their customers. They also said the measures they’re taking include employees wearing gloves and masks and not touching doorknobs.
“We are doing everything we can to try to prevent the spread of it and the contraction of it. The last thing we want to do is have any of our employees get sick throughout this process or spread it to any of our clients,” said owner Mike Nemeth.
Meanwhile, Papas Moving, which is based in the Lower Mainland but serves Vancouver Island, said they are still operating to the Island, and have increased their safety measures as well.
“We have put hand sanitizers in our trucks and our guys are wearing gloves,” he said. “We’re checking before we actually appear at each job that the people we are about to move are not experience any symptoms at the last minute,” he said.
All the moving companies that spoke to CHEK News say they have seen a drop in business in one form or another, with some experiencing more of a decline than others.
Carrol said Clydesdale Moving has had several cancellations which have left them struggling as a result. He said despite those cancellations and as an essential service, they continue to operate.
“We couldn’t shut down even if we wanted to,” he said.