Wednesday 22nd April, 2020
Enquiries have started to come in again so our schedule for next week is filling up fast. Some people have experienced problems with our Website Form so we’ve now added 2 Google Forms to make it even easier to send through enquiries. One form is for moves of 4 items or more, and one form is for moves of 3 items or less, such as TradeMe or Facebook pickups, shop pickups and similar.
Most of our customers who have had to cancel because of Level 4 have been able to re-book for Level 3.
Here’s a very helpful article from NZ Herald regarding what you can and cannot do during Level 3: “How far can you extend your bubble before it pops?”
Monday 20th April, 2020
The Government announced today that we will be moving down to Alert Level 3 next week on Tuesday 28th April, so we have another week at Level 4. We will therefore be available for bookings again from Tuesday 28th April, operating with the safety measures outlined in our previous blog post. Maintaining contact tracing will not be a problem for us – we of course already have all our customers’ names & contact details. Also, our Google Location History has continuously been on for at least the last 12 months. Moving between regions is allowed.
Friday 17th April, 2020
Following on from the Government’s update yesterday afternoon, we’re now in a better position to decide what measures are adequate to start operating again during Level 3:
“Most workers will not require PPE to stay safe at work. Incorrectly used PPE can create more risk. Good hygiene measures like hand washing with soap and water, physical distancing, sneeze and cough etiquette, and wiping down surfaces is the best defence against COVID-19”.
Furniture removals are permitted after the Lockdown, even between regions, and the required physical distancing of 2m for the public is maintained. 1m is required between work colleagues. Proper hygiene with hand washing and cough & sneeze etiquette would also be a necessity. Because of the highly physical nature of our work, face masks won’t be practical nor comfortable, but we will continue to wear protective heavy-duty gloves during moves as we have always done since we started operating over 5 years ago. These will be sanitized between moves, as well as our hands. Our truck will also be cleaned with disinfectant spray between moves.
At this stage 2 of our main workers won’t be able to work until Level 2. We will most likely still be able to operate with our remaining 2 workers taking over full-time. These workers have had no symptoms, nor have been in close contact with anyone known to have COVID-19 or anyone who has shown any symptoms. They have also been in self-isolation since at least the start of Level 4.
A definite decision would be made on Monday afternoon (20th April), following the Government’s daily update at 1pm.
Wednesday 15th April, 2020
A lot has happened with updates from the Ministry of Health and from the Government over the past few days. A major update is due on Monday 20th April in which we’ll be told in more detail what it will be like post-Lockdown. There should be more guidance then from the Government outlining the necessary precautions.
An article from the NZ Herald today mentioned that moving companies may not be allowed to operate during Level 3 (found under the heading “Real Estate”): “The other cloud over house sales was settlements and whether buyers and sellers would be allowed to move homes during alert level 3 and whether furniture removal companies could operate”.
We were optimistically hoping to start operating again during Level 3, but realize that this may not be likely. Cross-contamination during furniture removals will be a major concern for us and our customers. We have to put Health & Safety first. This means that as well as wearing masks, gloves and protective overalls, between each move, we would have to disinfect anything we come in contact with, namely:
- moving blankets
- tools & packing materials (tape, shrink wrap, bed bags)
- inside the back of our truck and inside the front cab
- clothing and/or protective overalls, footwear & gloves
It would be very impractical and uncomfortable with the physical nature of our work to be able to keep these processes in place, while maintaining the efficiency we’re known for.
Another hurdle we’ve faced is that over the past few days we’ve been told that our team members have underlying health conditions, or are living with people who have underlying health conditions. Them working would put them and their housemates at unnecessary risk to this deadly virus. They have opted to continue to self-isolate until Level 2. We would be violating Occupational Health & Safety regulations if we forced them to work during Level 3 or 4. This is something we would never do anyway.
We have also been considering alternative ways of operating, but have so far been unable to come up with any workable solution (offering a full moving service) that doesn’t involve us physically handling items.
More to come soon once we receive more updates in the next few days.
Friday 10th April, 2020
Woke up this morning to this news:
Thursday 9th April, 2020
Today is the start of New Zealand’s 3rd week in COVID-19 Alert Level 4. This means the whole country is in Lockdown. Because we haven’t been able to work (furniture removals is not classed as an “Essential Service“, we’ve had a lot of spare time on our hands over the past couple of weeks.
Decided to update the website and make a few improvements, especially to the Website Form, making it more user-friendly. Added some photos and also decided to start this Blog to keep everyone up-to-date on what’s happening behind-the-scenes with Swt Moves.
As with many businesses, we were hit hard with the Lockdown by having to cease operations. We applied for the Government grant about 2 weeks ago and received it in just 4 business days. Very impressed with the leadership of our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the way she has handled this pandemic. The curve has started to flatten out over the past 3 days or so. Her live feeds on her Facebook page have been very re-assuring, offering a more personal, laid-back style to answering questions and generally putting the public at ease with these broadcasts. Definitely visit her page and give it a Like. She’s been doing an amazing job in these very difficult times.
As soon as Level 3 was announced, we only had just over 48 hours to prepare for Level 4. The 2 days before Level 4 were hectic, both from an admin point of view and also with moving furniture – our phone was constantly going off during those 2 days. We had a lot of last-minute reschedules from customers trying to move before Lockdown was in place, making the last 2 days of business very busy. We managed to take on several moves from customers of other moving companies who couldn’t reschedule with them. We also unfortunately had to cancel about a dozen of our bookings over the Lockdown and ended up refunding all the deposits for these. This was the first time we’ve ever had to cancel anyone since we started operating.
The Government announced today that it will let everyone know on Monday 20th April when NZ can move down to Level 3. Hopefully this Lockdown won’t go much longer than the 4 weeks initially announced. We need to get moving again!