Unwanted toys, clothing, bedding and bric-a-brac could be destined for landfill after thrift stores across the Wimmera banned donations.
In a bid to protect staff from COVID-19, Horsham-based opportunity shops run by the Salvation Army, St Vincent's and Wimmera Base Hospital Ladies Auxiliary Op Shop have all announced they cannot accept goods of any kind - a trend seen across Australia.
Salvation Army op shop store co-manager Shirley Mellington said the decision was simple.
"We made the decision a week ago to stop accepting donations because we would need to store everything in a second space," she said.
"We cannot touch the donations for 48 hours and our op shop is fairly full already.
"We have to think about the safety of our staff members."
She said despite the ban, donations were still left outside the store.
Additionally, the thrift store is now closed to the public indefinitely as of midday April 1, joining a long list of businesses shut down due to the pandemic.
"Anyone in need can still contact the Salvation Army by phone," she said.
The WBH Ladies Auxiliary Op Shop on Darlot St indefinitely closed its doors two weeks ago after concerns for the businesses elderly volunteers. while the Vinnies Op Shop prohibited donations but remains open.
A spokesperson for the said people should hold on to their goods until the ban is lifted.
Meanwhile, second-hand furniture business True Blue Dealers continues to operate, but in an extremely limited capacity.
"We are not buying stock from the public," manager Rachel Frahn said.
"However we are still ordering new stock in for customers."
She added her business has slowed down to one or two customers a day.
"At the moment, everything is organised over the phone," she said.
"We are trying to minimise contact, but you still have to keep the showroom open so that people can see our stock."
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