Local retailers are beginning to reopen doors after months of COVID-19 closures, and this doesn’t just include big-box retailers. Thrift and consignment businesses in the area also are reopening with modified store policies and donation procedures.

Hosparus Health Thrift Shoppe in Elizabethtown reopened Monday after closing March 23 to the public. With this reopening came a new list of guidelines for employees, volunteers and customers.

These guidelines include reduced hours, social distancing when shopping and in-line, limited customer capacity, enhanced disinfecting procedures, health screenings for volunteers and employees and a requirement for vol­un­teers and employees to wear masks. Customers also are encouraged to bag their own items and wear masks. Fitting rooms also are temporarily closed.

“We took a phased approach to reopening so we could ensure that we could put the best practices in place for protecting our staff, volunteers, shoppers and donors,” Hosparus Health Thrift Shoppe manager Moira Taylor said.

Proceeds from the thrift shop go toward Hosparus Health’s mission to provide palliative and hospice care, as well as grief counseling to members of the community.

The store also changed how volunteers and employees handle store donations, Taylor said. She said the store only is accepting donations from the back of the building and donations are unloaded into specific areas to be processed. Carts are thoroughly sanitized between each donation load.

Donors are asked to provide items in containers that can be kept by the thrift store and must remain six feet away from volunteers, employees and other donors.

Because many Ken­tuck­ians have spent much more time at home in recent months, many locals have felt inspired to rid their homes of unneeded possessions, leading to a large increase in donations, Taylor said.

“We knew there would be a tidal wave of donations coming in upon our return,” Taylor said. “The first days of receiving do­na­tions at our shops in Eliza­beth­town and Camp­bells­ville were non-stop. Our generous donors came delivering carloads of items. It has tapered off now to a more normal pace, but we were so appreciative of that outpouring of support.”

The Hardin County Hab­­i­tat for Humanity ReStore in Elizabethtown reopened May 20 after being closed for about eight weeks. Hardin County Habitat for Hu­man­ity CEO Scott Turner said the store has taken on several operational changes since reopening, including sanitizing all donated items, modifying hours and following CDC and Habitat International guidelines on safe operational procedures. He said when picking up donations, volunteers are encouraging donors to leave items outside of their homes for pick-up.

Proceeds from the ReStore go toward Hardin County Habitat’s mission to provide housing for low-income families.

COVID-19 also has affected Habitat for Hu­man­ity’s plan to open a new ReStore location on Ring Road in Eliza­bethtown.

Originally scheduled to open earlier this year, Turner said the estimated opening date for the new location is July 6.

“Due to the current store being closed for so long, it has pushed our opening date back,” Turner said. “We have to sell down our inventory before we are able to move.”

Taylor said though things will be different for thrift store customers, she is happy thrift stores can once again operate to serve local community endeavors.

“We are so happy to have the thrift shop open again to raise funds for services,” she said.

Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-505-1746 or acritchelow@thenewsenterprise.com.

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