How to Shop in a Pandemic

By it admin

The thrill of thrift has been tucked away in our good memories bank as we have all been sheltering at home. Now that we have all become well-acquainted with our bedroom walls and our “travel plans” include frequent day trips to our refrigerators, it feels like the right time to get excited about second-hand shopping again. As retail stores start to reopen, it’s only natural to have reservations in the middle of a pandemic.

There are a number of new health and safety measures that retailers like SF Goodwill are implementing to protect their employees and the local community. Here are a few tips on how to shop safely during a pandemic:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Goodwill employee and customer wearing personal protective equipment (ppe)

Goodwill employee and customer wearing personal protective equipment (ppe). Photo by Greg Habiby.

California retailers are required to ask their employees and customers to wear masks. They also must train employees to frequently wash their hands and sanitize high-touch surfaces. At SF Goodwill we have implemented the latter and also require our employees to wear gloves. Six-foot floor and sidewalk markers and plexiglass sneeze guards at registers have been installed at open stores. Don’t forget to wear a mask and continue practicing social distancing while shopping. If possible, bring your own hand sanitizer or wipes and make sure to wash your hands when you get home.

Do Not Bring Your Own Bag

Paper shopping bag at Goodwill store

Paper shopping bag at SF Goodwill store. Photo by Greg Habiby.

Some retail stores are not permitting reusable bags because it’s impossible to vet who is bringing the bags and what exposure. Also, with research on asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers, it makes sense to reduce the risk of exposure as much as possible. Depending on the retailer, some are providing bags or selling bags. It’s good to start with retailers’ websites to view their recent COVID-19 updates and information. SF Goodwill’s website has information on updated locations, hours, and safety guidelines. SF Goodwill is providing two bag options for purchase, totes for .99 cents, and paper bags for .10 cents.

Touchless Payment

Touchless payment at Goodwill store

Customer making a touchless payment at SF Goodwill with staff standing six-feet away from the register. Photo by Greg Habiby.

You can still pay without making contact with the cashier. There is a risk of spreading germs when a cashier has to touch your card and then hand it back to you. At many locations, retailers have set up systems for touchless payment. Watch our safety video to learn about the process in Goodwill stores:

Quarantined Inventory

Goodwill employee with cleaning supplies

SF Goodwill employee with cleaning supplies at store entrance. Photo by Greg Habiby.

Many retailers are quarantining their product before bringing it out to the sales floor or shipping it off to a customer. At SF Goodwill, we are quarantining our items for 72 hours prior to bringing them out on the floor. Sanitizing the sales floor is also a priority. In addition to wiping down high touch surfaces, you can look up or ask if a company is misting and sanitizing the product.

Clean and Sanitize Your Purchases

Man doing laundry

While the stores can implement increased cleaning and sanitization it is important that customers also take on their own cleaning. If you purchase clothing, make sure to wash it when you get home. This adds an extra level of safety.

Create a Shopping List or Plan

shopping list

If you have concerns about spending too much time inside the store and in close proximity to others, then it’s helpful to go into the store with a plan. Are you looking specifically for women’s tops? New housewares? Try making a list or plan ahead of time and during your visit go to the specific sections that have what you need to be more efficient. Remember most stores have closed their fitting rooms for safety reasons, but extended their return policies. Check the website of stores you plan to visit for the most accurate information.

Stay Indoors and Shop Online

Shopping online from home

Still uncomfortable venturing to a store or facing greater health risks keeping you indoors? Shopping is still available online! SF Goodwill has online eBay, Amazon, and shopgoodwill stores in addition to a wholesale closet (@goodwillsf) on Poshmark, available to browse anywhere at any time. We encourage customers to still wash the clothes after receiving packages. Shop SF Goodwill Online.

Now, more than ever, we need to come together as a community to foster safe and healthy spaces. Job and housing inequities put many people in the Bay Area in vulnerable situations during this health crisis. Your purchase at SF Goodwill stores has a purpose. Ninety percent of every dollar spent in our stores supports our mission to create second chances through training and the dignity of work. We invite you to join us in a safe shopping experience—while still maintaining the thrill of a treasure hunt—to create jobs and training for Bay Area people.

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Health, Style.