Coronavirus impact: Some Bay Area Goodwill thrift stores may never reopen

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Donation centers run by big Bay Area nonprofits are still probably weeks away from reopening, and when they do get the green light, at least one big-name operation may not be around to accept what's expected to be a surge in items from residents who've spent the last several weeks, cleaning out their closets.

Closed now for more than two months, the very existence of the Goodwill's Bay Area donation centers and thrift stores is in jeopardy.

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Goodwill gets 80 percent of its revenues from the sale of donated goods... in its stores.

Right now, those sales amount to zero.

And because they each employ more than 500 people, most of Goodwill's 14 California locations don't qualify for federal aid.

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"We don't know quite yet which Goodwills will close," said William Rogers, Goodwill of San Francisco. "If we can't figure this out to get some kind of federal assistance, I think that we will see some sites close definitely. We all may see some Goodwills having to file for bankruptcy restructure."

Like Goodwill, the Salvation Army is also preparing for a tremendous influx of donated goods as many of the the Bay Area 's sheltered residents have used that time to clean out closets and garages.

The Salvation Army will welcome the goods, but with a host of new protocols in place to make sure everything that's received is safe.

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"We're going to open it up in phases," explained the Salvation Army's Lt. Jen Liggett. "Once we have attendants again at the donation stations, they will have masks, they will have gloves, practice social distancing and practice all regulations as advised by the CDC and local governments."

As an additional safety measure, the donated goods will be placed in a separate area for at least 72 hours to allow for the dissipation of any potential COVID-19 contamination.

At this point, the Salvation Army doesn't expect to be able to open its donation centers until mid-June at the earliest.

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