CHARITY shops in Ryedale are beginning to reopen, but are operating new procedures to protect the safety of staff, volunteers and customers.

Some shops started to welcome back customers last week and have new ways of accepting and organising donations, including a 72-hour quarantine for items.

In accordance with Government guidelines, charity shops must encourage contactless payments or refunds, staggering collections times, ensure a safe distance of two-metres, organising collections points and much more.

In a statement, Saint Catherine’s said: “We have not yet set a date for when our shops will be welcoming customers and donations.

“Any items that are donated will need to be quarantined for 72 hours before we are able to sort them, meaning that storage space could become an issue.

“Our charity shops are our biggest individual source of income, collectively raising around £1.1 million for patients care last year.

“We hope to be able to let you know very soon about when you will be able to shop, donate and volunteer with Saint Catherine’s in a safe environment.”

Many independent charities in Ryedale rely on donations, fundraisers and shop income.

The Alan Bott Charity, which supports people with multiple sclerosis and similar neurological conditions, is reopening its Pickering shop on July 6.

Staff and volunteers are undertaking necessary precautions, including a risk assessment, cleaning all products, implementing a three-day storage period and a three-customer rule.

“It’s important for everyone to call the shop beforehand to arrange a collection time for donations,” said Virginia Collinson, manager at the Pickering branch.

“The safety of our volunteers is paramount, so everyone is wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks.

“We are monitoring everything in great depth and looking forward to welcoming our customers back.”