Here’s when charity shops will open - and the new safety measures in place for donations

By Helen Johnson
Friday, 29th May 2020, 3:53 pm
Updated Monday, 29th June 2020, 12:21 pm
Lockdown restrictions are beginning to slowly ease around the UK, but when will charity shops open again? (Photo: Shutterstock)
Lockdown restrictions are beginning to slowly ease around the UK, but when will charity shops open again? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Lockdown restrictions are beginning to slowly ease around the UK, but when will charity shops open again?

Here’s what you need to know.

When will charity shops open?

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    In England, charity shops, along with other non-essential retailers, will be reopening on 15 June, in line with government guidance.

    However, they face a number of new challenges as all new donations will have to be quarantined for 72 hours before they can be displayed on the shop floor.

    Charity shops are also expecting an influx of donated items, with people having clear outs during the lockdown period.

    Barnardo's is advising customers to call their local store before donating in order to ensure that the shop is able to take the items and to help manage the expected influx of donations.

    This currently only applies to England at this stage and further guidance will be issued for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales by their respective governments.

    In Scotland, small retail units could begin to reopen in phase two of the route map laid out by the Scottish government.

    The map explained that these stores would have to implement “physical distancing” measures in order to provide a safe environment for shoppers.

    These measures could include limiting how many shoppers are in the store at one time, placing distance markers on the floor and other hygiene measures like plastic screens in front of tills.

    Larger retail stores would be able to open their doors, with physical distancing measures put in place, in phase three.

    What are non-essential shops?

    Non-essential retailers include shops selling clothes, toys, furniture, shoes, books, electronics, alongside tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets.

    However, hairdressers and nail salons are not included in this and are not expected to open until July at the earliest.

    How has the lockdown impacted retail?

    The temporary closure of clothes stores during lockdown has had a significant impact on businesses, with clothing outlets Oasis and Warehouse closing permanently, resulting in the loss of 1,800 jobs.

    Debenhams also entered into administration for the second time in a year in April, forcing some of its branches to stay shut permanently.

    However, Boris Johnson said reopening shops is "contingent on progress in the fight against coronavirus", and that retailers will have to adhere to new guidelines in order to protect shoppers and workers.

    What social distancing measures will be put in place?

    New guidance has been published for the retail sector, which includes the measures that they should take in order to meet hygiene and social distancing standards.

    This includes frequently cleaning objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including trolleys, coffee machines and self-checkouts, and placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas.

    However, plans to reopen non-essential shops in June apply to England only. There’s currently no updates for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland in regards to this.

    Which shops remained open during lockdown?

    Stores which were classed as ‘essential’ and have remained open during lockdown, include:Off-licencesSupermarketsPharmaciesPetrol stationsBanksStorage and distribution facilitiesPost officesHome and hardware storesGaragesVehicle rental servicesVets and pet shopsLaundrettes and dry cleanersMarket stallsMarket stalls which provide essential items such as food are allowed to stay open.NewsagentsBicycle shopsShopping centres (if they have retail units which offer essential services, such as food or medicine, or shops on this list)