GREENSBORO, N.C. — Six Goodwill store locations opened Friday after the state granted the company's "essential business" request. Triad Goodwill had been closed for more than a month, officials said.
Triad Goodwill stores in Greensboro, Burlington, Archdale, and Mayodan are among the locations that re-opened their doors after closing due to the coronavirus. Business hours though have changed and the stores will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Triad Goodwill said their store locations have been deep-cleaned and deep cleaning will become "a new normal" at stores, career centers, and the home offices.
The stores will follow new social distancing rules including touchless donations and only a limited number of shoppers are allowed inside at a time. For example, the permitted occupancy for the shopping floor at the South Eugene Street store is 25 persons including staff.
Dressing rooms and restrooms are also closed off and the staff is to frequently sanitize and clean surfaces throughout the stores.
Staff would also undergo daily wellness checks and would be wearing personal protective equipment like masks, face shields, and gloves.
The CEO of Triad goodwill stores told WFMY the store applied for and received its essential business status in mid-April but hesitated to reopen due to the uncertainty at the time about how the COVID-19 health pandemic was evolving
"We probably could've re-opened two weeks ago but we weren't ready. We had so much training to do and we wanted to make sure that everyone was safe and so we are kind of tiptoeing out right now," said Chris Gorham, CEO, Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina
The stores are retaining their employees, but staff who are seniors or have underlying health conditions will not be returning right away. There are also signs urge anyone who is sick to stay away
"We are taking things very slowly, it's definitely a different shopping environment and it is not your typical donating experience and for those that use our job center services, it's virtual" added Gorham.
The shopping floors are also marked with red arrows showing a one-way direction and yellow 'X' marks identifying the recommended 6-feet-social-distance for shoppers.
Folks who are donating items would now have to drop them in large collections boxes which would be quarantined in storage for at least 72 hours. Staff would then sanitize items in the sorting process, transfer them to the sales section where they would be sanitized again during the price-marking process and placed on the shelves of racks for sale.
The six listed stores are part of Triad Goodwill's Phase 1 Reopening Plan, officials said. Right now, home office, career services, and internal operations would still remain closed to the public for the time being, according to the plan.
Phase 2 and 3 would see the remaining store locations open. The Reopening Plan has aimed at having all stores reopened by May 17.