With just one volunteer left, Warrnambool's RSPCA op shop will remain closed until mid-March, with the organisation's retail manager describing the closure as having a "dramatic" impact on animal welfare funds.
The volunteer-run RSPCA op shop on Liebig Street has been closed for at least a week after most volunteers left citing reasons related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
RSPCA Victoria retail and e-commerce manager Steph Neil said the store joined the majority of the organisation's 11 other op shops across the state in closing.
"We're hoping to recruit another store manager and have a team leader very soon but it's very challenging to keep the store open with a lack of volunteers," she said.
"We are in a state where a number of our stores are in a similar situation - we just don't have feet on the ground to keep the stores open.
"Most stores within the network are closing at least one day a week."
Ms Neil said the decision to close the store came from a safety perspective.
"At the moment we do have a volunteer at the store but it's not really safe to open because not everyone is comfortable with opening or closing the store as well so we need a couple of volunteers," she said.
"For the safety of the staff it's been closed for about a week but prior to that it was opening a couple of times through the week for a few hours."
She said the store closures had "quite dramatically" affected the organisation's revenue stream.
"The op shops are a revenue stream for us," she said.
"We're quite lucky people donate goods directly and that goes directly back to the organisation so it has been quite significant especially with COVID.
"It might not seem significant at the time but the work our volunteers do is so crucial because it helps us fund these really important services back to the animals and the community."
She said anyone over the age of 18 who is interested in applying to become a volunteer should apply online.
"Anyone who wants to have a go, there's heaps of things to do like sort clothes, if you're bubbly and like to talk to people then you can work on the register, it really just depends on what people want but we have a very inclusive culture."
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