RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Goodwill stores across Virginia are gradually reopening to the public in a phased approached which started Tuesday.
The plan is to reopen roughly four to five stores every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday over the next several weeks with limited hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
“At Goodwill, we have continued to look to the recommendations of the local and national government in addition to the CDC amid this unprecedented time to ensure we did our part to flatten the curve and keep our community safe,” Goodwill CEO Mark Barth said. “With the Governor’s decision to allow operations such as ours to reopen, we look forward to welcoming back our associates, donors and shoppers and will be taking every precaution to ensure the safety and sanitation of our donated goods and those visiting our stores.”
For the last eight weeks Goodwill stores across the Commonwealth have been closed.
As of Tuesday, they started reopening for in person shopping and those donations many of you may have put together while stuck at home during the stay-at-home order.
"We do have some locations that are just packed to the gills with stuff that we're anxious to sell,” said Laura Faison, Director of Marketing & Community Relations. “Some locations may not be able to accept large items like furniture at this time."
When it comes to donations, staff is taking extra measures to ensure any germs or viruses do not spread to the sales floor.
“We're fortunate that we have the capacity to really hang on to those donations for 72 hours which is the recommended guideline per the CDC," Faison said.
Even after that time frame though most items are getting sanitized.
"All of our hard surface items, so house wares and things like that, are treated before they're put on the sales floor,” Faison said. “They're sprayed and wiped down with a chemical that for killing viruses."
All upholstered items are also treated and when it comes to clothing, it's recommended you wash those items before wearing them.
"We have seen a lot of happy shoppers,” Faison said. “I think they're anxious to get out of the house and go on those treasure hunts."
Goodwill needs more treasure hunters like you, especially now, because of the company's mission.
"Those revenues go back to supporting job seekers in our community," Faison said.
With hundreds of thousands of Virginians currently unemployed, leaders are trying to plan for the need.
"In 2008 when we saw the economy crash, we saw people looking for services from us double overnight,” Faison said. “Based on everything we're hearing, when we are able to reopen our employment centers, it could be two or three-fold what we've seen pre-pandemic."
Faison added because of this pandemic, Goodwill had to furlough nearly 850 employees, which is about 60% of the workforce. However, as stores reopen, Faison said they are contacting those employees to get them back to work.
Goodwill has also implemented the following protocols to keep employees and customers safe:
- All required and preferred safety items are stocked and in place at each location.
- All staff is properly trained on safety policies and will implement safe social distancing measures.
- We encourage all associates, shoppers and donors who are feeling ill to stay home from work and self-isolate.
- All staff will wear a face covering and vinyl gloves while in the workplace.
- We encourage all shoppers and donors to wear a face covering and use “touchless” payments whenever possible to reduce contact.
- We have installed plexiglass shields at the registers, added floor markings to indicate a six-foot separation and will provide hand sanitizer at the front of each store for customer use.
- Stores will operate at 40% capacity for in-store shopping.
- Dressing rooms will be closed.
- All common surfaces will be disinfected before opening and every two hours thereafter.
- Individuals visiting a Goodwill location to make a donation of used goods must either place their donations in provided bins or remain in their vehicle while a Goodwill associate assists.
- Donations are being quarantined for at least 72 hours.
- All upholstered furniture and bedding (pillows, stuffed animals, etc) are being treated per the Virginia Department of Health guidelines.
Despite in-person shopping limited to Tuesday through Saturday, locations will accept donations daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Faison added all sales are final for the time being as the stores get up and running again.
To find out what stores are open near you, check out Goodwill’s social media pages.
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