Photo of person's hands getting washed with soap under a faucet.

COVID-19 Safety Information

Updates as of June 1, 2020

Goodwill stores are reopening with safety first. We are eager to serve you again and want to share what to expect when you shop or donate:

  • All customers are required to wear a mask in our stores.
  • New store signage outlines safe social distancing practices.
  • We have a new, contactless donation process to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Employees are wearing gloves/masks, performing daily health checks [including temperature readings] and will not be at work if experiencing any symptoms of illness.
  • We increased cleaning practices and installed sneeze guards at every register.
  • If our quantity of customers exceeds safe levels, guests may be asked to temporarily wait outside.
  • Drinking fountains, fitting rooms, restrooms and shared areas are temporarily closed or modified.
  • Customers and donors who do not follow our safety protocols may be asked to leave at any time.

We appreciate your understanding and support to help us keep connecting people to jobs.  See store locations, hours and updates here.

Updates as of May 19, 2020

You may have heard we plan to reopen Goodwill stores by June 1, but our workforce development services never closed because of the generous support of our community.  Our Services & Programs team has been serving over 1,500 people since our stores temporarily closed in mid-March and helping job seekers find success with virtual support:

  • A woman we serve landed a new job at a major bank for $16/hour and we helped her look her best with gift cards to pick out new work clothing.

  • A man we serve obtained his Class B CDL license and earns $30/hour and another was offered a new position at a bakery in Minneapolis and is excited to be able to pay her rent.

As we work to resume our retail operations by June 1, we are taking required steps to ensure the safety of employees, customers and participants: extensive documentation of our preparedness, employee training and physical safety protocols in all facilities.

While everyone adjusts to a new normal, one thing has remained unchanged in over 100 years of service – our mission to overcome barriers to work and independence. Thank you for your patience and we look forward to welcoming you back very soon!

Updates as of May 17, 2020

We are working to reopen stores by June 1. We're in the process of recalling employees, training them for new safety practices and setting measures in our stores to keep customers and employees safe. Stay tuned for more details.

Updates as of April 16, 2020
 

Despite challenging times in communities across the globe, Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota is still serving 2,000 people and lifting up our neighbors. Watch how in this short video.

Our President & CEO Dr. Michael Wirth-Davis was interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio, answering frequently asked questions and sharing his thoughts on how the nonprofit community is faring.

With over 350,000 Minnesotans filing for unemployment benefits to date, GESMN wants you to know you’re not alone. Our Dislocated Worker program offers career counseling, resume assistance and even help with certifications and training programs to start a new career (email abardell@gesmn.org for information).

Our work in connecting people to jobs every day is even more critical now and we're seeing successes: 

  • A participant needed help with a business plan to open her own cleaning service. Our employment support consultants assisted in filling out the forms necessary to open a small business last week.
  • We helped a woman with a disability who got a new job working from home to help small businesses get COVID-19-related loans understand the impact her new job will have on her benefits.
  • A participant has a speech challenge that makes telephone conversations difficult. Our support staff meets him in a parking lot and they talk through their car windows to maintain safe distance.
  • A woman started her new job as a program manager at a home healthcare service and was excited to report she will be working 40 hours a week [with the possibility of overtime] to increase her income for her family of 10. 

Offering our services digitally is not without challenges. Some students are sharing internet access in large apartment complexes with slow speeds, while others travel to relatives’ homes to get access. Other people in need of services are connecting with us via cell phone and can incur expensive data overage fees.

You can help!  Make a financial donation to help us keep connecting people to jobs. And keep up your spring cleaning – we’ll be eager to take your donations as soon as it’s safe for us to re-open our stores. Together, we can keep preparing people for work. 

Updates as of April 14, 2020

Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota President and CEO Michael Wirth-Davis, Dr. PA answers frequently asked questions and shares his thoughts about the future.

Q: How is Goodwill doing, especially since stores are temporarily closed?

It’s not ideal because our stores provide critical revenue to fund our services and programs. But we’re still serving over 2,000 people using digital tools. We also want to be a good community partner.  We donated 1,300 masks to Health Partners and scrubs to several area hospitals. A senior center asked for puzzles and we delivered those too.

 

Q: Are people still dropping off donations at stores?

Yes, but unfortunately, we have no donation attendants to collect items from outside and we incur expenses for clean-up. While we’re grateful for the community’s generosity and I know it’s spring cleaning time, we’re asking people to save donations until we can resume full operations.  We’ll gladly take them when we re-open!

 

Q: How are you able to connect people to jobs in this new environment?

We were able to offer online support and learning right away. Connecting people to technology and meeting them where their skills are is very important right now. But the challenges people face in their daily lives can still present obstacles: we have a student having to travel to his mother’s home for internet access and another who lives in a large apartment complex with slow shared internet access.

 

Q: Are people getting jobs and finding new career paths?

Yes! Our work in connecting people to jobs every day is even more critical now.  Here are some great stories: 

  • A participant needed help with a business plan to open her own cleaning service.  Our employment support consultants assisted in filling out the forms necessary to open a small business last week.
  • We helped a woman with a disability who got a new job working from home to help small businesses get COVID-19-related loans understand the impact her new job will have on her benefits.
  • A participant has a speech challenge that makes telephone conversations difficult. Our support staff meets him in a parking lot and they talk through their car windows to maintain safe distance.

 

Q: When will you open stores again?

We’re hopeful to resume full operations as soon as we can ensure the safety of employees, customers, participants and the community.  We simply don’t know when that will happen.  Right now, we’re preparing our registers with sneeze guards, ordering PPE supplies for our staff and making plans around re-opening with safety first.
 

We’ve been around since 1919, supporting people in times of need like the Great Depression, world conflicts and more.  COVID-19 has really illuminated the inequities the people we serve face, and we’ll keep working to lift them up in times of need.

 

Q: What can people do to help nonprofits in the community? 

Many nonprofits in our community are still delivering services and we’re all navigating this together. People can lend support to our sector by volunteering or making a financial donation to an organization they care about that is making a difference in Minnesota.

Updates as of April 2, 2020

As communities across the globe are feeling the effects of COVID-19 and working to support people in need, stories of hope are emerging. People are working together to uplift others, and so are we. Our mission to eliminate barriers to work and independence has become even more critical, as many people now face additional barriers to employment and need our support.

Read the latest update from Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota's President and CEO, Dr. Michael Wirth-Davis, Dr. PA.

Update as of March 26, 2020

Update from Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota's President and CEO, Dr. Michael Wirth-Davis, Dr. PA

The uncertainty and changing nature of COVID-19 is a challenge for everyone. During our 100-year history, GESMN helped the community weather the Great Depression and even trained returning service members for work. We have a rich history of service, particularly in times of great need.

In that spirit, here’s what we’re up to now:

  • We’re actively serving over 2,000 people who need us via online and adapted tools.
  • Even though our stores remain temporarily closed, we are sanitizing all locations.
  • Identifying unique ways to partner with other nonprofit and medical organizations to meet community needs during this time. Stay tuned for details soon!

You can help! Call on Congress to provide #Relief4Charities to help nonprofits continue service during COVID-19. Make a donation to help us support people who need their jobs more than ever right now.

We’re hopeful to resume full operations as soon as we can ensure the safety of employees, customers, participants and the community. Thanks for your continued support.

Update as of March 18, 2020

Update from Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota’s President and CEO, Dr. Michael Wirth-Davis, Dr. PA

Several recent developments, including new guidelines from Governor Tim Walz, have prompted the following operational changes, effective on March 19:
 

  • All Goodwill store locations (Goodwill, Gina + Will, Second Debut, Outlets) will close
  • Goodwill E-commerce operations will close
  • Aftermarket salvage, transportation and logistics locations will close

It was only after thoughtful deliberation, consultation with our Board of Directors and information from public health officials that we reached this decision. We have taken significant precautions to date but believe this is the appropriate direction at this time. These changes are temporary and re-opening plans will be communicated in the future.

We will continue our non-retail services and programs to participants using adapted methods and online tools. Services at our Rochester, St. Cloud and Willmar store locations will continue to be staffed, with other service teams working remotely to meet needs via phone, email and video conferencing. If you are receiving services from us, please contact your career navigator so we can assist you.

The best way you can continue to help our most vulnerable neighbors is by making a financial contribution to Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota, or to another nonprofit serving our community. Financial donations provide flexible support and bolster our ability to respond to critical participant needs at this time.

Thank you for your understanding and support as we navigate how best to safeguard our staff and the people we serve. We look forward to resuming our operations and mission delivery to the community at the appropriate time.

Be well,

Michael Wirth-Davis

We want to share that the following scheduled events are canceled and will be rescheduled:

  • FATHER Project celebration event on March 25
  • All training information sessions on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays
  • Power of Work event on May 14

UPDATE AS OF MARCH 17, 2020

A message from Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota’s President and CEO, Dr. Michael Wirth-Davis, Dr. PA

As COVID-19 is of growing concern globally and in our community, I want to assure you that safety is our organization’s priority. Together, our community knows how to weather challenging times.

Given the large volume of guests at our stores, the high-touch services we provide to the community and the public-facing nature of our work, we recognize the need to protect everyone’s health and well-being.

We remain committed to continuing our services and programs using adapted methods and online tools so we can maintain in-progress classes, employment support and other services to the best of our ability. Store staff have extra personal protective equipment (PPE) options, are practicing social distancing and more.

To keep pace with evolving COVID-19 developments, our operational decisions will be fluid and adjusted as appropriate.

Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota has been serving our community since 1919, supporting people in times of need like the Great Depression, world conflicts and public health issues. We will continue our work, though it will be modified in the coming weeks to protect the health of our staff, donors, customers and the people we serve.

COVID-19 has also illuminated the inequities we know the people we serve often face, as access to sick leave or extra income to support families through uncertain times isn’t available to everyone. That makes our work even more important in lifting people up in times of need and taking care of our staff.

Please stay tuned to this page for ongoing updates and information.  

Be well,          

Michael Wirth-Davis

UPDATE AS OF MARCH 16, 2020

Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota values its employees, customers, donors and community.

The Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is of growing concern across the globe and safety is a priority for our organization.

Given the large volume of visitors to our stores, the services we provide to community members and multiple touchpoints our teams have, we recognize the need to be informed and proactive to protect everyone’s health and well-being.

Our leadership team is actively monitoring the situation, along with other global Goodwill agencies and Easter Seals affiliates and recognize it’s a public health concern applicable to all populations, regardless or country of origin, race or travels.
As the situation changes, GESMN is keyed into the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and is taking every step to ensure cleanliness at the 70+ locations where we serve the community. 

Here are some tips to help minimize COVID-19’s spread in our community:

  • Wash hands often and thoroughly for 30 seconds with soap, water or an alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and/or contact with people who are ill
  • Cover coughs and sneezes, disposing of tissues immediately
  • Stay at home if you have any symptoms of illness

Updates will be shared in real-time while GESMN monitors this situation, as the health of both our employees and the people we serve is our central focus.