St Vincent de Paul, better known as Vinnies, must jump over a couple of COVID-19 hurdles in the lead-up to opening its new and huge Dubbo store on October 27.
More volunteers are needed for the store at 151 Macquarie Street, formerly occupied by Harris Scarfe, along with advice as to how to meet the state government requirement to take "reasonable measures to stop unvaccinated people entering".
This week Vinnies' regional retail manager for north-western NSW, David Powter, told of the charity launching a marketing campaign to find volunteers for the new store which would have a "way bigger workload".
Vinnies is combining all its arms including retail and welfare in the new store which is expected to attract "double" the number of customers because of its size, donations from Sydney, prime location and nearby parking.
Mr Powter acknowledged a drop-off in volunteers because of the threat of COVID-19 and "vaccination questions".
"There's a lot of volunteers a bit concerned about what's going on at the moment," he said.
"They are not quite sure about people who haven't been jabbed coming through."
Meanwhile, Vinnies is figuring out how to comply with the government's directive.
"I know the government has actually come out ..and said retail should take every precaution necessary to ensure there are no unvaccinated people in the shop, but they don't tell us how we should do that," Mr Powter said.
"So we've got to try and figure that one out."
Volunteers at the new store will be supported by paid manager, Shane Clarke, and "probably a paid person in the sorting area".
"We need someone to bear the brunt of the responsibility so we are not stressing people out who are kindly donating their time," Mr Powter said.
The opening of the new store will result in the permanent closure of the Talbragar store which is still accepting donations.
A plan to introduce a hub and spoke operation where the new store distributes donations to smaller stores in the region will begin with Coolah.
Tradesmen are putting the finishing touches to the store measuring about 1500 square metres.
"Next week we are allowed to go in and start putting stock into it," Mr Powter said.
Furniture will again be offered with a truck now available to collect it.
"..as soon as we get some volunteers we will go around and pick up some stock that people want to donate," Mr Powter said.
The regional manager said the new store would be open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday.
"We're already set up for QR codes and masks and sanitising," he said.
"That's normal process now for us."
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