ATS Employee COVID-19 Plans

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To All America’s Thrift Store Employees,

As we listen to the news and watch what is happening around the world and in our own cities, we know that the Coronavirus is going to be part of our future in the coming days & weeks.  Everywhere we turn, there is and will be an impact from this virus. Our top priority is to work together to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus and to offer our employees, donors, and customers a safe experience and environment.

We want to encourage everyone to remain calm and understand that all of us need to continue to be informed and updated on this situation. We have monitored the news and reviewed as many reports as possible to build the best plan for our people, our customers, our donors, and our company.  We also intend on providing updates each business day over the course of this emerging situation. In the spirit of mutual accountability, as we communicate with you, we ask that you communicate to friends and family. Share the actions we are recommending and encourage them to practice them and remain calm as well.  

Much like other retailers, we will continue to do business as usual while trying to provide the best environment for our employees and customers.  We know that we all need our jobs and we will work diligently to keep our doors open throughout this event so that we all have a paycheck, provided we can maintain a safe environment.

Our top priority is to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus and to offer our employees, donors, and customers a safe environment. To that end here is what we are doing and what we ask you to do:

Here is what we are doing at ATS and for ATS Employees:

  1. Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces like tables, check-out lanes, terminals frequently 
  2. Offering protective equipment (glove & masks) to those that want them 
  3. Staggering break times to minimize contact
  4. Suspending donation home pick-ups until all of our drivers and helpers have protective gear
  5. Holding collected donations for 3 days before processing them to ensure virus is dead
  6. Sharing learnings from The CDC and local/state public health officials daily via a call with managers and posts on employee page of website

Here are some things we are asking you to do:

Practice the clean hygiene habits as proposed by the CDC to limit the spread of the virus

  1. Wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  2. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw the tissue away.
  5. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  7. Keep your distance from other people, at least 6’ when possible

If you are sick, believe you have been exposed to the virus or exhibit the symptoms below; please do not come to work and share with others. This virus is quite contagious.  We have learned that many folks do not end up with severe symptoms, so please remain vigilant. The key symptoms are those of a mild to severe respiratory illness:

  1. Fever
  2. Dry cough
  3. Shortness of breath

Practice mutual accountability and share these hygiene tips and symptoms with all your friends and family

The CDC recommends that when in public, we keep a safe distance from others and this “social distancing” can help reduce the spread of germs.  While this may not be possible in the work environment, if we utilize our PPE and the preventative practices that we have discussed above, our responsible actions will help to keep illnesses to a minimum.

Many of you may have children that are in a school district that is closing for a period of time.  You may also have other family members that need you at home. If you are unable to find suitable daycare and need to be home, you should speak with your store manager.  If you can work an abbreviated schedule, we will try to work with you to allow you to continue to earn money while taking care of your family.  

If you would like to utilize your PTO, even if you have not yet reached your anniversary date, we will also make this available.

Most importantly, we will not be assessing attendance points for necessary absences during this situation. You will definitely NOT need to worry about losing your job. 

As you know from the news reports, much is happening and changing quickly. The President has declared a National Emergency and Congress has passed legislation that I believe could impact each of you. But at this time the details are only just being communicated. As we learn more, we will pass it on to all of you.  Due to the rapidly changing available information, please utilize the link to this website/landing page for additional resources as well as for regular updates:

You’ll also see there is a button on that landing page that allows you to send an email to me and ATS Leadership with your comments and questions. Please feel free to use it. It can be anonymous, no need to fill in your name. 

One last point, while we think we have sent this to ALL employees, we aren’t sure we have EVERONE’s cell phone # or email address. So, in the spirit of mutual accountability, please help spread the word by reaching out to your fellow co-workers to make sure they’ve seen it. We’d really appreciate that. 

Thank you for being part of our team and part of the solution as we work through this situation.  Stay healthy (and wash your hands)!

Ken Sobaski
President & Chief Executive Officer
America’s Thrift Store

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