Special to the Opelika Observer
As of May 2, Goodwill opened stores and career centers, except in Albany, Georgia, after nearly six weeks of temporary closures to help disrupt the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of employees, shoppers, donors and clients is of highest priority and given the concentration of confirmed cases in Dougherty County, re-openings will be delayed to a later date for all Albany locations.
Reopened stores and career centers will temporarily run on shortened hours to allow employees to conduct heightened cleaning procedures daily. Career centers are set to reopen on May 4.
“To ensure the safety of all team members, shoppers, donors and clients, Goodwill has implemented social distancing and safety guidelines throughout all stores and career centers,” said Goodwill President and CEO, Jack Warden. “We are also introducing added safety measures that include limiting the number of people entering a facility at one time, required forehead temperature scans for all persons before entering the building, quarantining all donations for at least 72 hours before they are put on the sales floor, and the addition of shields at all registers. We are committed to taking as many safety precautions as possible and getting our employees back to work.”
Before temporary closures, Goodwill had already begun to enact certain safety measures with the addition of disinfecting wipes for shopping carts, hand sanitizer stands placed throughout all locations and social distancing with drive-up, drop-off donation services where donors do not have to get out of their cars.
The decision to close temporarily was in the best interest of the community, but was not taken lightly as revenue generated through the sale of gently-used donations supports Goodwill’s mission of helping put people to work, which also happens to be an even bigger need in the community at this time. Virtual career services and job fairs were offered by Goodwill career centers during the closure period and will continue to be offered in tandem with the re-addition of in-person services.
Goodwill understands the complexity of the situation many people in the community are currently going through and continue to stand ready to help businesses find the essential employees they need as well as connecting individuals to employment that best fits them.
During the six weeks of temporary closures, Goodwill maintained financial stability and did not have to make the difficult decision to furlough any employees. While some employees did have shortened hours, Goodwill continued to pay more than 400 employees who were unable to work during the closures. As the reopening process remains fluid and may change, please visit goodwillsr.org or GoodwillSR on Facebook to stay up-to-date on any new announcements regarding openings, closures, or other important information relayed to the public.
About Goodwill Southern Rivers:Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers (GoodwillSR) is one of 157 independent, community-based Goodwill nonprofits across the United States and Canada. Headquartered in Columbus, GoodwillSR serves 50 counties throughout east Alabama and west Georgia. We provide employment readiness training, computer access, educational assistance, skills workshops and more to spur job placement and economic stability in the communities we serve. We can provide these and other programs thanks to the continued donations of giving patrons. We use the revenue generated in GoodwillSR stores to fund the majority of our community services. For more information about Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers, visit www.goodwillsr.org.