Goodwill

Goodwill Industries of South Central California has started reopening stores throughout Kern, southern Tulare and Kings counties.

Nonprofit thrift stores are returning with a new set of rules after having to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since Sunday, Goodwill Industries of South Central California has reopened some locations for donations and retail. Currently, Bakersfield Goodwill stores on Ming Avenue, Coffee Road and Oswell Street as well as the one in Taft are open. Every week, two more locations throughout southern Tulare, Kings and Kern counties will open, said Jake Slayton, president and CEO of Goodwill of South Central California.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Goodwill of South Central California closed down all locations to prevent workers and customers from getting infected. Now they are making the transition to getting customers back.

As with most stores, Plexiglas at cashier stations and all employees will wear masks and gloves. It's required that customers stay 6 feet apart and wear face coverings to enter the store, Slayton said. 

"We do it to be safe," Slayton said.

Donations will now be handled via contactless boxes — with boxes categorized into clothing, textile and household items. To comply with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, items will be stowed away for 72 hours before being placed on shelves, Slayton said. 

Goodwill stores in Kern County will have new business hours, said Justin Ahart, vice president of retail for Goodwill of South Central California. The thrift store chain is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, he said.

"Before we opened up, we went through serious training with all employees," Ahart said. "We have really loyal customers. Between our customers and employees, I have confidence that everyone will be safe."

Goodwill won't be accepting furniture at this time but another thrift store will be able to pick up those donations.

Habitat for Humanity Golden Empire announced on Facebook that its ReStore Bakersfield opened its doors Tuesday. Proceeds raised at the thrift store are used to build shelters around the community. The location at 5101 White Lane will be open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Appliances, furniture, home decor, clothing and more are accepted at ReStore Bakersfield.

Visit thegoodwill.org to see what stores will open in southern Tulares, Kings and Kern counties.

Bowen West can be reached at 661-395-7660.

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