How to Stay Safe From Coronavirus During Service Calls


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The coronavirus has stopped ordinary day-to-day life in its tracks. But some things – broken pipes, stalled refrigerators, disrupted cable service – roll on.

If such misfortune visits your household, waiting for the lockdown to end is not an option: You need to make a service call now. But how do you do so in a way that reduces the risk of contracting COVID-19?

Consumer Reports recently suggested taking a few extra steps when you schedule your next service call. They include they following.

Try to avoid signing paper documents

CR suggests that you call the company sending the technician and request a “touch-free transaction.” This would mean that you would not have to touch papers, pens or anything else that the technician typically would bring into the home.

Ask how the technician will keep you safe

Prior to the appointment, ask the company if the technician will be instructed to remain at least 6 feet away from everyone in the household. Also, ask if the technician will wear a mask or gloves, or take other steps to keep you safe.

Clear a path to and from the work area

You want service pros to do the job right, but with a minimum of wandering around. So, clear a path to the work area, and keep the area itself as clean as possible.

CR notes that by preparing ahead of time, the technician will need to touch fewer things while in your home, and spend less time on the service call itself.

Allow technicians to wash their hands

CR notes that in some cases — such as when working with wiring — it may be impractical for the technician to wear gloves at all times. In such instances, offer the technician soap or hand sanitizer to clean up before and after the service call.

Tip with care

If you plan to tip, CR suggests putting money in an envelope and leaving it somewhere where the technician can pick it up instead of handing the cash to him or her. Or, use an alternative method. According to CR:

“If you want to use a mobile peer-to-peer payment app, such as Apple Pay or Venmo, to tip someone, do it while the person is in your presence and confirm every detail before you send the money to make sure that it goes to the right person,” recommends Christina Tetreault, senior attorney at Consumer Reports.

Wipe down surfaces after the technician has left

Studies have shown that the coronavirus can remain on surfaces from hours to days. So, after the technician’s work is done, make sure to wipe down any surfaces he or she may have touched.

Looking for the right disinfectant? Check out “5 Household Cleaners That Can Kill the Coronavirus.”

Wash your own hands thoroughly

This should go without saying at this point, but when the service call and post-call cleanup are done, wash your own hands thoroughly.

To do so the right way, read our tips in “Beware These 7 Hand-Washing Mistakes.”

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