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Bend BottleDrop makes changes to curb COVID-19 spread

BottleDrop locations remain open, enforce social distancing

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The BottleDrop Redemption Center in Bend remains open amid the coronavirus outbreak, but it has made some changes in a bid to prevent spreading the virus.

The redemption center is not letting more than 25 people inside the building at a time, including staff and customers.

Staff have also added tape markings on the floor to remind people to stay at least six feet apart, as have many stores across the region and country.

The markings don't extend to the outside of the building, where there is a drop-off kiosk for green bags.

Joel Schoening, the community relations manager for Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, told NewsChannel 21 Tuesday the organization has sent out an email to people who use the green bags, reminding them it is up to them to keep each other safe by following the social distancing guidelines.

Christopher Reagle said he was dropping off cans and bottles to collect money for laundry. He said he is one of the homeless people in the area who wants to keep the neighborhood clean. He said the past weekend alone, he picked up trash along nine blocks.

Reagle said he knows it's not safe for people to dig through garbage to collect cans and bottles, but for homeless people, it can be especially difficult to stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think that the BottleDrop still being open gives people the chance to still get enough money for the small things they need, if they cannot find employment,” Reagle said.

He said he has noticed the staff sanitizing kiosks and other parts of the building more than usual, and said he’s glad people seem to be keeping their distance.

“I mean, it’s less busy, but throughout the day, I think there are times it picks up and dies down,” Reagle said.

Other changes at the BottleDrop include only letting one adult use a kiosk at a time and accepting no more than 350 cans and bottles per person, to free up more space. 

For more on how the BottleDrop has adapted to the coronavirus pandemic to keep staff and customers safe, visit the BottleDrop website

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Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.


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