Since the Australian borders were closed in March, followed by the implementation of social distancing rules and the closure of non-essential services, the severity of restrictions have been fluctuating. With the rules changing so often, it is understandable that people are unsure about what is allowed, especially if they aren’t familiar with the different restrictions enforced in each state. One thing that has remained fairly consistent, however, is that you are allowed to move house if you need to.
But how do you find a house when you cannot leave your home state to browse the market? Leaving your state means facing lockdown upon arrival or when you return, depending on which way you are moving. Are removal companies allowed to operate under government restrictions to assist with moving your furniture? Which hygiene precautions should you take when executing the move? Are open houses allowed?
In this article, we’ll help you resolve any confusion surrounding the current COVID-19 restrictions in Australia and how these rules impact your relocation journey. Let’s take a look at some of your most frequently asked questions.
What are the current COVID-19 restrictions in Australia?
The first important thing to note is that the Australian borders are still closed and will likely remain so until the end of the year, so while it is possible to move house within the country, international relocations are placed on hold for the moment. If you’re planning on relocating to Australia, you can, however, get started with your visa applications to prepare for the moment the borders are open again.
A three-stage plan was announced in May to provide guidelines for different states and territories to adopt responsible practices and implement sensible restrictions that suit their circumstances. This means that specific rules differ between states as the situation calls for it, which may cause some confusion. At the beginning of August, for example, metropolitan Melbourne entered a six-week lockdown under Stage 4 regulations while regional Victoria and Mitchell Shire entered a Stage 3 lockdown.
Am I allowed to move house under current lockdown rules?
Yes, you are still allowed to move house under Stage 3 and 4 restrictions if it has already been planned, although curfew hours still apply. Regulations on this subject also stipulate that you are allowed to move if the residence you reside in is no longer available or suitable for you to live in.
Removal companies are allowed to operate under current COVID-19 restrictions. If you’re planning a DIY-move, the general rule is that members of the same household can help a person who needs to move house while friends or family who are not part of the same household are only allowed to help a person move if they are physically unable to due to health or disability reasons.
Am I allowed to visit another state?
Moving house within the same state is relatively simple, but it becomes a bit more complicated when you need to travel between states to look at houses and eventually make the big move. As a rule of thumb, you are allowed to travel between states, although you will need to comply with quarantine regulations upon your arrival and/or return. Each state has its own specific rules when it comes to interstate travel.
At the time of writing this article, Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania have all implemented mandatory 14-day self-isolation upon entrance. Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory do not currently have any border entry self-isolation rules. At the moment, Western Australia is the only state that has temporarily closed its borders. Here is a great in-depth guide of the finer rules that apply to travel between different states and territories.
Considering the mandatory border entry self-isolation in some states and territories, it’s not exactly practical or feasible to travel up and down to explore different neighbourhoods, browse houses and search for new schools for your kids. Don’t worry — we’ll look at a solution for this problem in a minute.
Which hygiene precautions should I take when moving house?
It’s very important to be mindful of social distancing rules and good hygiene practices throughout your relocation journey. In compliance with COVID-19 restrictions, open houses are not allowed right now, so any viewings need to take place over video calls or under strict health and safety protocols.
If you are making use of a removal company to help you move house, make sure you communicate with the team beforehand to find out exactly which hygiene precautions they are taking. Apart from maintaining safe social distance at all times, all parties should be wearing masks, regularly sanitizing their hands and also deep cleaning the moving trucks in between different moves.
Some removal companies are implementing even stricter hygiene practices like requesting all mattresses to be bagged before the move to reduce the risk of germ transmission. Of course, if you or anyone in your household are feeling ill or showing any symptoms, put the move on hold until you are 100% sure it’s safe to come in contact with other people again.
If the thought of moving house during COVID-19 overwhelms you, getting professional help from an experienced relocation agent is a good idea. Evidently, many aspects of the typical relocation process are even more challenging amid the restrictions on movement and the limitations of in-person contact at the moment.
The relocation agents from Claymore Thistle can help you ease into the process and guide you along every step of the way, from suburb analysis based on your unique needs to making travel arrangements and even choosing the best childcare and schooling options for your children. For prospective international relocators, we can also assist you in strategically planning this move and getting the process started so you can be prepared when international borders reopen.
Although we are headquartered in Queensland, we operate all over Australia to alleviate the stress of planning a move and finding your feet in your new home. If you want to learn more about what your options are for moving house in Australia, contact us today to book a free discovery chat.