Secondhand retail stores are closed because of coronavirus concerns

WATCH: Secondhand retail stores are closed because of coronavirus concerns

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Secondhand retail stores are temporarily closed because of coronavirus concerns.

The stores stopped accepting donations and even laid off some employees.

“Before it became as pandemic as it is, I donated to AMVETS,” said Nancy Burton.

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Last month, she donated goods, but she didn’t know it would be her last donation.

As a retired employee at the VA, Burton said she knew her items would benefit the needs of veterans.

“I love veterans because most of my family are military people,” Burton said.

The way items are donated has changed.

For the safety of customers like Burton and employees at 50 different AMVET locations, the doors are closed.

Keith Haley is the National Director of AMVETS. He said it’s necessary to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and the stay at home orders.

Medical experts think COVID-19 can be transferred from one surface to another which could include fabrics.

As a result, Haley estimated 95 percent of its employees are furloughed.

“It was a tough decision on whether or not we were going to take away somebodies livelily hood or keep them safe,” said Haley

Goodwill also announced it laid off 450 of its employees and closed all its stores in Memphis.

In a statement the company said:

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has taken a toll on our total community. We continue to ask our loyal donors and customers to hold their donations.”

“It’s actually counterproductive,” Haley said. “If somebody were to drop something off, it could get rained on ruined or damaged.

The Salvation Army Memphis also closed its Family Store and donation centers.

A spokesperson said locations will be closed “until The Salvation Army Memphis receives adequate information and guidance from local and national agencies on coronavirus as it relates to fabrics and surfaces.”

“Hear that it could live on metal for five days and the next time it is seven days,” Haley said. “We are waiting on some solid guidelines on how that will work and will consider that before we accept donations.”

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