Measures will include quarantine of donated goods
Charity shops re-opening in June will quarantine donated items for 72 hours with customers required to use hand sanitiser before browsing the clothes rails and handling the bric-a-brac on the shelves.
Guidance from the Charity Retail Association (CRA) will see all new donations – from clothing to books, china and glass – into quarantine for a minimum of 72 hours to reduce the risk of contamination.
Donors will be directed to “donation’” points, such as empty shops or warehouses, rather than just leaving goods in doorways and outside shops. All changing rooms will be closed.
Charities have been badly hit by the lockdown, with some reporting millions of pounds a month lost as a result of shops being closed. Many are keen to reopen, but rules around physical distancing and hygiene mean they may have to operate on reduced hours and put new rules in place for both donors and shoppers.
Barnardos will be among the first to start trading, with plans to reopen 70 of its 700 UK shops in England from 8 June, with staff and volunteers restarting
Cancer Research UK estimates the impact of coronavirus to be a 20-25% drop in its fundraising income – a shortfall of £120m. It is planning a phased reopening of its shops in England from 29 June – subject to government guidance.
Jo Mewett, head of retail for Cancer Research UK said: “We’re planning significant safety measures and putting new processes in place for receiving and handling donations. These include installing hand sanitiser stations, cough guards, contactless payment and face coverings for staff, as well as floor markings inside our larger superstores. Donated items will have a quarantine period before they are sorted to be sold in stores.”
The plan is similar at the British Heart Foundation, which has 750 UK stores as well as an online operation, and has lost around £10m a month as a result of the lockdown.
Oxfam is also urging members of the public to hold on to items and donate them when its 650 shops and donation banks are open again. Last year its shops raised £1.4m a month and the organisation has reopened its online secondhand shop this week.
The blueprint from the CRA for its 400 members – which run an estimated 9,000 shops – aims to help them adhere to the physical distancing measures required by the government.