When COVID-19 hit New York City to become a global epicenter for the disease, it did not take long for people to pack up and move.
Over 56,000 mail-forwarding requests got processed for the five boroughs in March 2020, which is more than double the monthly average for NYC. The number went up to 81,000 in April, which was double the amount from the year before.
More than 60% of the mail-forwarding requests were for an address outside of the city.
Manhattan experienced the most substantial losses during the COVID-19 emergency, with the Upper West and Upper East Sides creating over 50% of the requests for a change of address.
The Wealthiest Areas of NYC Saw the Most Movement
Garbage collection is lower in Manhattan right now than it has been in several years. You could hear the hum of the electronic signs above the sidewalks when you walked through Times Square during the middle of the coronavirus emergency in March and April.
Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal represents the Upper West Side.
Right after COVID hit, everyone just blasted out of here,” she said. “You could walk in the middle of Columbus Avenue – and I often did.
Many New Yorkers fled their city homes for less populated areas in the region. Those who could afford to go to the Hamptons made the coast their primary destination. Other communities in Long Island, along with New Jersey and upstate cities like Albany, saw a lot of movement.
Those living in Hell’s Kitchen moved to Connecticut and Maine. Texas and Rhode Island were top destination choices for those living in Brooklyn. If you were living in the Lower East Side, Florida became a tempting proposition.
It wasn’t just local moves that were happening in NYC during the time of COVID-19. New Yorkers moved to all 50 states and Puerto Rico as a way to get out of the city.
A complete picture of this movement, along with more details about how life in the city changed, was covered recently by The New York Times.
How COVID-19 Changed the Way New Yorkers Move
Movers became an essential service in the era of COVID-19. Our industry was one of the few that did more than survive during the pandemic. Many businesses thrived in NYC and across the country because life continues to move on.
All of us saw changes in the number and frequency of requests. Real estate deals were put on hold during the COVID-19 response, evictions were placed on a moratorium, and leases got extended to give families more flexibility with their living arrangements. We all moved to a different definition of normal.
That meant we needed to rethink how we can safely provide professional moving services in NYC.
One of the first steps that Expo Movers took to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was to implement a social distancing strategy while providing essential services. Our teams focused on working individually whenever possible, maintaining an appropriate amount of space between each other and our customers.
We started having non-essential workers perform their duties at home, including those responsible for providing moving estimates. Virtual in-home assessments became the new normal.
Cleaning protocols got implemented so that our offices and vehicles went through a thorough disinfection process twice daily. We stopped using reusable bins to transport items during a move. Even used boxes became a potential COVID-19 threat, which meant they needed to be removed from any moving services getting performed.
Our teams received personal protective equipment for each job. Gloves, masks, booties, and hand sanitizer became essential workplace items.
What Can We Expect in NYC as We Recover?
New Yorkers are some of the strongest, most resilient people in the world today. We have come together to handle numerous challenges in the past. COVID-19 caused countless tragedies in its wake, but it also brings us together as a community.
We fight together.
Many of the disruptions that COVID-19 forced upon the moving industry are going to create permanent changes. The innovative spirit we’ve tapped into to continue providing essential local, long-distance, and cross-country moves will take as much stress as possible out of your unique situation. Your ongoing safety is always the first priority.
Some of the individuals and families that left NYC to escape the coronavirus may come back one day. You may have new opportunities to pursue as the city comes back to life. Our guarantee is simple: if you need moving services, our teams will be ready to help.