How to move safely during a pandemic

Moving from one home to another can be a complex task in normal times, but during a pandemic? It can seem downright overwhelming.

Despite the various physical distancing measures currently in place, moving might still be necessary for some Canadians. Whether you plan on buying a home halfway across the country, or are renting a new apartment across the block, here are some things to know if you have to move during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Using a moving service?

According to Public Safety Canada’s Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic, moving services are considered essential and may still operate. However, many have temporarily closed, reduced hours or are subject to additional safety measures as required by local and provincial regulations. Make sure to visit your moving service’s website or contact them to find out how their business has changed in response to COVID-19.

According to the Canadian Association of Movers (CAM), below are some considerations to note if you are hiring a moving service.

Determine the requirements of you and your mover during the estimate stage. Familiarize yourself with restrictions in effect at the location of your current residence, the place you’re moving to and everywhere in between, especially if you are moving between provinces. Ensure you and your mover are both in compliance before scheduling your move.

You will have to reschedule or make alternate arrangements if you’re isolating. If you or any member of your household have exhibited symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, you must notify your mover and reschedule. Typically, the waiting period is 14 days after a person stops showing symptoms, but take note of the isolation period enforced in your area. Alternatively, you can have a representative present in your place to oversee the move. It’s important to note if you move to a new home in a different province, you and your household must self-isolate for 14 days or for the enforced timeframe.

Prepare your home for the movers. Minimize the number of people in your home at the time of the move, disinfect high-contact areas such as doorknobs, handrails and countertops, and if possible, designate a sink in your home as a handwashing station for movers.


Doing it yourself?

Popular vehicle rental and storage services are considered essential businesses and are still operating. Get familiar with the vehicle pickup and drop off process ahead of getting your rental vehicle and have disinfectant handy. Most services have increased their cleaning requirements between rentals; however it’s recommended customers disinfect high-contact areas of the vehicle at pickup and drop off.

Thinking of enlisting friends and family to help you move? Make sure to adhere to proper health and safety recommendations as advised at the location of your current and new home. If gloves and masks are available to you and are required to use in your area, use them. More importantly, maintain physical distancing of two metres, refrain from touching your face, and ensure you and your helpers wash your hands often.



While collecting boxes from your nearby grocery, book, or liquor store is a usual go-to for free and sturdy moving boxes, it’s currently not advisable to do so. Make use of items you already have around the house, such as laundry baskets, blankets and other textiles to protect fragile items.

Order any needed supplies such as boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, protective paper and cleaning supplies several weeks ahead of when you need to start packing, as increased demand has slowed delivery times for online orders.


When you get there, clean and disinfect the surfaces throughout your new home, including:

• cupboards and countertops;

• appliances and faucets;

• floors;

• walls and baseboards;

• doorknobs; and

• light switches.

While not ideal, moving during a pandemic is certainly possible. Learn more about how to prepare for your move by visiting the Canadian Association of Movers (CAM) website at They also have a help sheet called “How to Pack Up Your House and Move Safely During Coronavirus.”

You can also visit the websites of the Government of Canada and your provincial and municipal health authority for best practices, regulations and updates on Covid-19 in your area.