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House calls during this pandemic

  • 1.  House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-29-2020 13:59

    Almost immediately after the coronavirus thing started pretty much every appointment I had on the calendar, up until the middle of April, cancelled. And I don't blame them. Most of them I would have cancelled myself if the customer had not. But I have two on the books for next week that have not cancelled. Not new customers so I know the people and the environments. So, today's question is whether any of you are actually doing ANY house calls at the moment, or if you are just blanket cancelling everything? If you are still making the rare house call, how are you approaching it?

    Thanks --



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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 2.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-29-2020 14:35
    I tuned four in each of the previous two weeks and have 3 or 4 this coming week still scheduled. Phone or email conversations with all prior to going. 

    Gary Bruce
    Registered Piano Technician





  • 3.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-29-2020 15:36
    Geoff,

    I have ceased going into people's homes until further notice.

    Alan

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    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
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  • 4.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-29-2020 15:14
    I've got an unique situations.  I pre-schedule my appointments a year in advance. But last year my wife I were in Malaysia the first two weeks of April. So I only had a few appointments scheduled last week, and fewer next week. I've contacted each of them and gave them a choice, One rescheduled for sometime in May, the other opted to keep the appointment.

    I've gotten 2 calls this past week. One I had yesterday, but I have to drill the leads. I'm going back on Saturday. Yesterday I got a call to service a piano. I'm seeing him on Monday.

    The virus, so far, has not hit Oahu hard. We only have 125 cases so far. I realize this might be the tip of an iceberg, but we're isolated, and restricting visitors. No tourists are allowed, and anyone who comes here must self quarantine for 14 days.

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    Willem "Wim" Blees, RPT
    Mililani, HI 96789
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  • 5.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-30-2020 13:01
    Short answer - everything cancelled through April 30. 

    The Atlanta metro area is a Hot Spot. Schools were cancelled through April 24 after being cancelled for two weeks through March 15. I doubt school will be back in session this year. School year ends May 30. 

    The state is looking like all the models. Every day fewer counties are Covid free. 

    Ugly

     

     

    http://bit.ly/Schedule_My_Piano

     

    "Good, better, best; never let it rest, 'til the good is better and better best!"


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    George W.R. "Bill" Davis, RPT, SERVP

    The Piano Place GA

    2315 Rocky Mountain Rd NE

    Marietta GA 30066

    www.pianoplace.net

    bill@pianoplace.net


    Sent from my iPhone





  • 6.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Member
    Posted 03-29-2020 15:36
    I am doing zero house calls at this stage. I had a tuning scheduled in the Charleston SC area that the client cancelled but I was going to call and cancel. The client had relocated from Florida and was in a 55 and over community so its not a good place to be at this stage. The last job I did was an inspection on a player in a finished garage the owner left the side door open sat 20 feet away and I had an N95 mask and nitrile gloves I donned outside. Previous to that I finished a tuning way out in the country wore a mask and gloves. I used hand sanitizer after each visit once I removed the gloves.


    The risks are too great because we do not know who has this and when/where we will get exposed. The pianos can wait. COVID-19 is highly contagious and deadly.

    If you really want to freak there is a map that was posted using infrared imaging of the college students gathered on spring break. Once they left they dispersed to points all over the country by car, plane, bus, train.  They might live in the house that is next on your schedule

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    James Kelly
    Owner- Fur Elise Piano Service
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
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  • 7.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-29-2020 15:41
    I stopped working outside (I have a $600 key job on the workbench) on March 20. Since then our state went on "stay-at-home" orders for nonessential businesses.
    Piano tuning is "nonessential" in this state (Massachusetts); I'm pretty sure the same applies to CA, Geoff's state. Other states appear to allow some leeway (PA for example). And many others have no state ordered "stay-at-home" proclamations.
    Stopping this pandemic depends on all of us participating in the "stay-at-home" quarantine order/suggestion. This the most important part of the equation.
    Being an "oldster" I do have the option of applying (2 years earlier than I wanted to) for Social Security benefits. I am thinking about this seriously.
    Be safe, stay safe, protect your community.

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    Patrick Draine
    Billerica MA
    978-663-9690
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  • 8.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-29-2020 16:02
    I would go if someone would make a service appointment, but only after mutually confirming neither of us is at risk for COVID-19. Here in Mississippi, piano tuners are permitted to be doing service calls. If I were in a state that had shut things down, I wouldn't go. However, the few appointments I had on the calendar have canceled. I have two tunings for Tuesday, and then nothing else.

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    John Formsma, RPT
    New Albany MS
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  • 9.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-29-2020 16:47
    I'm not scheduling field work. The risks of getting infected or infecting others aren't worth a few hundred dollars. I think of the chain reaction of infected households, mine or others and it doesn't add up. Just because someone doesn't have symptoms doesn't mean they aren't carrying the virus.
    Right now isolation is the best way to make this episode as brief as possible.
    They (Fauci) are now talking about the possibility of 100,000 deaths in the U.S., who knows how many (millions?) also getting very ill. https://www.axios.com/fauci-coronavirus-deaths-america-aa3c1c66-329b-49a6-bcc4-50484ace46ed.html

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    Steven Rosenthal
    Honolulu HI
    808-521-7129
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  • 10.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-29-2020 16:47
    I have cancelled all private home appointments until further notice and am keeping a list of those who want to book as soon as this lifts.  Even then I am developing a set of protocols for how I want to interact with them when we are allowed back in.  That includes disinfecting the piano and any common touch areas (like door handles, light switches, prior to my coming, clearing the pianos of all objects, books, etc. so I don't have to, keeping people out of the rooms I'm working,in, etc., as the virus will still certainly be present.  I am making an exception for institutional work where I would be working in abandoned buildings, like churches, that are closed and where I have keys.  I do have a few of those.  But even there I'm asking a lot of questions about others' access and how long ago.  But that's it.  If someone wants to send me a piano to rebuild then I'm fine with that and have a couple of projects in the shop now.  Some movers are still working as I think those who are responsible for "inventory" are exempt.

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    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
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  • 11.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-29-2020 17:17
    I have also cancelled appointments.

    There is no guarantee that the virus will be limited to a few months. In 1918, the virus returned with a vengeance:

    https://www.history.com/news/spanish-flu-second-wave-resurgence

    Paul.

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    Paul Brown, RPT
    Past President
    Piano Technicians Guild
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Email: ipp@ptg.org
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  • 12.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-29-2020 19:29
    Everyone's feedback has been extremely helpful. A couple of client phone calls are now in order. Funny thing is is that I have recently received calls from a couple of my nicer, friendlier customers, not to schedule a tuning but just to check in and see how I am doing. I guess I must be doing something right. Made my day!

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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 13.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-29-2020 22:03
    Always nice to get that feedback. It's also a good time to check on some of the customers with whom you have developed a relationship over the years.

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    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
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  • 14.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Posted 03-30-2020 08:51
    Common touch areas - door handles.

    I've been covering them with detergent every hour. Being sticky and staying there, possibly better than disinfectant. Getting detergent on other people's hands and or gloves is rather a good thing. When I next have to go to a petrol station I'll do the same to the pump handles. But other than a planned taking a Finnish volunteer to the airport later this week for him to get home, no outings planned.

    Best wishes

    David P

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    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    +44 1342 850594





  • 15.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-30-2020 01:19
    Here in many areas of Washington State including mine non-essential businesses are ordered closed, and piano tuning is not listed as an essential service worthy of an exception regardless of our personal opinion ;)  I thought that was the situation in Los Angeles as well.

    ----
    David Trasoff -- RPT
    Whatcom Piano Service
    Tel: (360) 389-2158

    http://whatcompianoservice.com
    david@whatcompianoservice.com






  • 16.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-30-2020 08:43
    The majority of my appointments have been cancelled.  However a few clients still want me to come and I have been doing so.  Last week I did 4 tunings.

    I am only going to homes I've been to before and I know the client well enough to assess the situation.  I have a tuning for today.  The client told me the piano has not been played in weeks, so no one has touched the keys.  She lives in a large house with just her and her husband.  My area has had very few cases.  I will wear disposal glove while I am in her house.

    Given the above I think it is minimal risk.  





  • 17.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Posted 04-03-2020 13:00
    I found that its possible to  tune with nitrile gloves on and wear a mask, a good idea anyway to prevent sneezing when there's dust in and around the piano.

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    Frank French, RPT
    Piano Technician
    Tuners Art
    frank@tunersart.com
    415-731-8611
    San Francisco, CA 94122
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  • 18.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 04-04-2020 02:49
    The advice given me was that piano tuning, no matter what you or I think, is not a "necessity;" and as to do so involves entering other peoples' homes, for a period of time greater than an hour which can subject ourselves and the residents to exposures doesn't seem wise. The virus doesn't care how well you know each other, nor how clean the individuals and their homes are.  Here in California, we are asked to stay at home except for "necessary" trips (getting TP at a store-ANY store would be considered necessary). If I got sick, or one of my clients became sick, after a tuning I would feel responsible, and do not want that liability. It seems pretty cut & dried, although financially it is suicide.
    I haven't asked, but I would imagine our liability insurance carriers also see going on calls as a risky thing.
    Someone once told me, 'May you live in interesting times!" Hmm, I think we are now.





  • 19.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-30-2020 08:50
    I haven’t tuned a piano since March 13th and that new customer begged me to come and tune her Grand piano that hadn’t been tuned in “forever”. She wanted to play again since it looked like we were going to have a lot of time on our hands. She was right. It hadn’t been tuned in at least 15 years and notes were sticking. I did a pitch raise and eased the keys but decided that this wasn’t worth risking my life for and I have cancelled all tunings and in home work for the duration.

    The first baby died from the virus this week and there are cases all around me (I’m in Illinois). I don’t want to be a statistic.

    Laura Olsen

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 20.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-30-2020 09:43
    I also cancelled all appointments for the foreseeable future. Thankfully I can still go in to my university job, so I'm still putting in 40 hours a week. The university is mostly shut down, but still accessible - the university had an extended 2 week spring break (today is technically the first day "back"), all buildings are accessible by id card only, all classes have gone to remote learning, students have been encouraged to return home and remain off campus as much as possible, and any staff that can do their job from home have been told to do so. It's a bit of a ghost town at the moment - there will occasionally be a piano major or two who are in the practice rooms, but last week we delivered digital pianos to any piano majors in town who wouldn't have access to a piano in case the university goes into a full shutdown. Most days I don't see, let alone interact with, anyone at all until I get home.

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    Adam Schulte-Bukowinski, RPT
    Piano Technician
    Glenn Korff School of Music
    University of Nebraska at Lincoln
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  • 21.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-30-2020 09:54

    Adam,  I'm in the same boat.  We will still have a few recitals for students (only grad students who are graduating) and I have the OK to come to work and also tune for the recitals.  Only the pianist, one instrument or voice, the recording engineer in his booth and the grading faculty are allowed in the hall. No emsembles allowed.  It's eerily quiet around here, but I'm getting stuff done that I usually can't get to like regulating practice grands, key bushing, etc.

     

    I am happy to come in as I can't work from home.  I am alone all the time except at home, so my health continues to be good. We're all healthy at home, but crowded.

     

    Stay healthy all!

    Paul

     






  • 22.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-30-2020 12:47
    I'm still doing some house calls but I'm limiting them to one a day (if there is even one a day) in an effort to protect my customers. I'm not accepting new customers yet. I call them first thing in the morning to make sure everything is clear. I carry rubber gloves to use in stores that don't supply them but not for tunings. I do wash my hands before I leave home and the moment I return... before I even take my coat off and I use hand sanitizer before I leave my car and as soon as I get back into it. I clean and sterilize the keys before I tune as well, and wipe down my working tools with alcohol when I get home. Social distancing with my customers is a must, even if it seems safe. I also change my clothes when I get home.

    There is NO hand santizer to be found in stores, so I make my own. MIx 2/3 cup of at least 80% isopropyl, rubbing alcohol or ethanol (I use Everclear I keep as a hammer softener) with 1/3 cup of aloe vera gel and 10 or so drops of an essential oil to cover the alcohol smell and mix real well. Keep it in small bottles that you can seal to stop the alcohol from evaporating. It's not as good as washing with soap and hot water, but it's better than nothing.

    I only have three tunings this week and did four last week. It's likely that I won't be doing any in the next few weeks until the worst of this passes up here in Alberta. I suspect our business practices will change in the future, at least until a vaccine is developed. All three levels of government here are offering some relief to self-employed people and the federal government is supposedly offering enough to pay the mortgage and keep the lights and heat on.

    The only businesses open here are essential services such as food stores, restaurants with take out service, fuel stations and auto service and parts stores. Liquor and cannabis stores are still listed as "essential services" but I can't get a hair cut. Schools, recreation centres and some churches are closed, so no tunings there and everyone is being urged to just stay home. Mind you, if they stay home they may play the piano more and often they haven't tuned it for years.

    One more thing I should mention is that there is an excellent video conferencing system called "Zoom" (www.zoom.us) that in its free form allows for up to 100 participants in a meeting for 40 minutes at a time. After 40 minutes it logs everyone off and you can start a new session. Music teachers are using it to teach lessons, family and friends are using it to keep in touch and I'm going to organize PTG meetings with it. I urge everyone to check it out and if nothing else, keep in touch with your families and friends with it. It's much better than Skype or Facetime.

    Stay safe everyone. With some diligence we'll get through this.




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    John Musselwhite, RPT
    Calgary, AB Canada
    www.musselwhite.com
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  • 23.  RE: House calls during this pandemic

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-30-2020 15:20

    Everything I had was mandatorily canceled due to the governor's mandate. I'm keeping a list of clients that want me to come as soon as possible, which I'm assuming means as soon as the ban is lifted. I have a feeling the list will continue to grow as this thing drags on.


    Until then, I have several projects to keep me busy, including trying to restore a 1912 "railroad grade" Hamilton pocket watch. That will be interesting....



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    Benjamin Sanchez, RPT
    Piano Technician / Artisan
    (805) 315-8050
    www.professional-piano-services.com
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