Big thanks to the community for your support of The Exchange and our Covid safety protocol. We know its been hard to schedule drop-offs—especially when we are booked up for two months! To help alleviate that, we have added two more reservation slots to each drop-off day (Friday & Sunday). Also be sure to check the calendar, because last minute cancellations happen often, and then those spots are made available. Thanks for your patience!
The Exchange reuse store, located at the Orcas Island Transfer Station, is open again with normal days and hours of operation, Thursday – Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. However, due to Covid and an expected post lock-down tsunami of incoming material, operations will be very different than usual.
The Exchange will only accept drop-offs on Friday and Sunday, and reservations will be required. The Exchange will be closed to shoppers on these days.
The Exchange will be open to shoppers on Thursday, Saturday and Monday. Facial coverings will be required, and foot traffic will be controlled by staff, as per Washington State guidelines for “Phase 2” retail operations.
“We have been working hard for several weeks on our re-opening plan,” says Jeff Ludwig, Exchange general manager. “Every section of the store has been cleaned up, and re-thought with County and State Covid safety guidelines in mind.”
Ludwig explained that because of the possibility of drop-off items being contaminated, they had to come up with a plan for ‘decontamination’, which involves letting items sit in quarantine for as much as 72 hours. This led to the policy of alternating intake and retail days.
Intake staff have been directed to be much more discerning in what they accept. They will be looking for items that are gently used, clean, complete, fully operational, and immediately useable by others. “Bring us the types and quality of items you would hope to find when shopping at the Exchange for yourself,” says Ludwig. A revised “Accept/Do Not Accept” list is available on the website at www.exchangeorcas.org/accept-do-not-accept-list.
The Exchange is requesting that all items brought in be in either cardboard boxes, or brown paper shopping bags. And in expectation of a Covid clean-out tsunami, the Exchange has re-launched its online drop-off reservation system, which you can find at www.exchangeorcas.org/reservations. A reservation will be required for drop-offs.
Shopping days of Thursday, Saturday and Monday, will be different too. The number of people in the store will be limited by staff, which could cause lines to form. Facial coverings will be required, and social distancing will be expected. Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance (north side of building) and the exit (south side, near cash register). The Exchange is asking that people refrain from bringing children in the store during Phase 2.
“We know that these new policies will create some problems for people, and we ask for everyone’s patience,” says Ludwig. “Our board and staff look forward to collaborating with the community as together we navigate the new normal.”