Op shops around Brisbane are up and running post-lockdown, and have implemented new health and safety regulations to keep volunteer staff and customers COVID-safe.
Many of the thrift stores that were forced to close in late March due to COVID-19 restrictions have reopened.
Salvos Hope thrift store in Moorooka was closed for the lockdown period but reopened on June 8 with a number of new practices in place aimed at minimising close contact and stopping the spread of germs.
Store volunteers must now wipe down surfaces a minimum of once per hour and sign it off on a sheet.
Customers are no longer permitted to use the store’s change rooms, but are still able to return clothes that don’t fit in exchange for store credit.
Volunteer Jess Perry said the quantity of donations the store received hadn’t been affected by the pandemic, but said store policy on how to deal with them had changed.
“We have to quarantine items for 72 hours before we can handle them,” Ms Perry said.
“Normally when we get donations, we price them and put them out on the floor the same day because we want stuff out as soon as possible, but we can’t do that anymore,” she said.
“Same with exchanges – if someone brings an item back to exchange, we have to quarantine it.”
Annerley’s Save The Children op shop reopened in July and also has some new health and safety regulations to follow.
Volunteer Roxanne Birch said there was now a lot more work to be done around the store to keep everyone safe.
“We have to steam all our clothing donations once we get them,” Ms Birch said.
“We clean the store every few hours,” she said.
“Our change rooms are open, so we have to wipe them down frequently.”
Yesterday’s discount op shop in Annerley was one of the few thrift stores in Brisbane to remain open during lockdown, albeit at a reduced number of days per week.
The Annerley store functioned as a clearance outlet for the other four Yesterday’s stores around Brisbane, taking in their excess donations to bag and sell for a reduced price.
Store volunteer Christine Jennifer Brown said the store continued to receive the same regular stream of donations and patrons throughout lockdown as usual.
“We had people frequent here quite a bit because not many other stores were open during the time,” Ms Brown said.
“We also get the bags of clothing coming from the other foundation stores because this is the clearance store.”
Like the other thrift stores, Yesterday’s has its own COVID-safe measures in place, which includes a hand sanitising station in the store’s entrance, however the store does still allow customers to use its change rooms.
Although each store follows its own set of new practices, if there’s one thing they all have in common, it’s that they’re always looking for more volunteers.
“A lot of volunteers haven’t been showing up recently, I think because they feel unsafe and they’re scared of getting sick,” Ms Birch said.
“We are always looking for more volunteers,” Ms Brown said.
“Even before COVID started, we still needed more volunteers.”
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, you can apply in store or fill out an application online.