Coronavirus: Family stuck without clothing, curtains, furniture after moving companies stop work

Containers at wharfs are still being emptied, but moving companies cannot move people's belongings to their new homes.  (File photo)

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Containers at wharfs are still being emptied, but moving companies cannot move people’s belongings to their new homes. (File photo)

A family’s major move to a new city has kept them in suspension and their possessions are stuck in a container because moving companies are down during the coronavirus lockdown.

They were left without curtains for the winter, and a four-year-old child only has pants because clothes cannot be delivered even though the container is a 20-minute drive away.

But the moving company says health and safety means they can’t let people get to their property, despite officials saying the family has access to their property.

A woman who asked not to be named said her family recently moved from Palmerston North to a small town in Canterbury to be closer to the family.

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The billing date for the new house was Friday, which means the family was just making the move when the Level 4 lock set in.

She flew to Canterbury with most of the family on Monday, leaving her husband and teenage son to sort out their recently sold Palmerston North home.

Moving company Crown Relocations had promised they could move their belongings, but by Wednesday noon things had changed.

“We were told we couldn’t get our things,” she said.

“They couldn’t even tell us where they were.”

The bad news resulted in her spending more than $ 500 at K-Mart to stock up on essentials like cutlery and a kettle. At the same time, many people panicked buying.

The Canterbury family helped with replacement mattresses, towels, sheets, and other linens, but the house was still without curtains or other items.

MP Amy Adams ‘office found the container was in a facility 20 minutes’ drive from the family’s new home, causing more frustration, the woman said.

While it was possible to buy almost anything they needed for online delivery, having their own possessions so close seemed like a waste.

But there were also items that couldn’t be bought, such as clothes.

“Our four year old only has one pair of pants.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Employment said moving companies cannot operate, but families accessing their essential items is an essential service.

“The moving company is allowed to provide this essential service for the family, and the family is allowed to travel to get access to their belongings.”

Crown country manager James Logan said they initially thought they could deliver, but the advice suddenly changed.

He understood that it was a stressful time and bad situation for the family and others in similar situations, but he could not guarantee the safety of employees and customers.

Containers unloaded at quays with essential goods were thoroughly disinfected and workers stayed away from each other, he said.

Other countries with more relaxed moving company practices, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, have had widespread coronavirus transmission, Logan said.

“As long as people are in one place and safe, it will be only a minor inconvenience for most of the rest of our lives.”

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