By Mick Jensen
The Salvation Army Family Store opens its doors today after an eight-week closure.
Staff and volunteers have spent a number of days cleaning and preparing for the reopening.
Salvation Army Major Mike Allwright said there would be fewer items on display than usual, more spacing between clothing racks and some items in temporary storage.
Visitors would need to sign in, stick to distancing rules and use the sanitiser provided.
He said the family store was ‘‘a great little hub’’, not just a clothing shop, but a point where people could come together socially.
People had been missing not been able to visit the store, he said.
‘‘On Monday we had 15 people waiting at the front door and the phone was ringing hot.
‘‘We’ve taken our time reopening because we wanted to get it right and make it a safe place for staff, volunteers and the public.’’
The Salvation Army continued to be grateful for the donations it received in store, he said, and also for food and monetary donations that were given because people saw the organisation as doing good work in the community and as trustworthy.
As a charity, it had taken a hit through the drop in shop revenue locally, revenue that helped support the foodbank it ran.
Major Allwright said the Salvation Army had run 100 per cent above normal levels for the food parcels it gave out and continued to support people referred by Civil Defence, including migrants, as well as regular clients.
He said the current tough situation would likely get worse for some people before it got better.
Level 2 meant more shops were open, more people were impulse buying and would then have to face the consequences of that overshopping later.
Now was still a nervous time for a number of businesses and unlike other tough times, such as the Christchurch earthquakes, no knight in shining armour or hero would emerge from Covid-19.
He said seniors were still experiencing an element of social fear, but overall people had been sensible and more generous in their social interaction over the past weeks.