PLENTY of retailers have had to shut during lockdowns across the UK to help limit the spread of coronavirus.
But how have the Covid-19 restrictions affected charity shops and can I still donate to Mind, Oxfam and British Red Cross? We explain all you need to know.
Oxfam is one charity shop that has been forced to shut during lockdownCredit: Jon Bond
Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national shutdown across the whole of England.
Are charity shops open?
Charity shops are classified as non-essential, so all physical stores have had to close to customers.
This includes retailers such as Barnardo’s, Oxfam, Mind, Marie Curie, British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross and Sue Ryder.
It’s similar to the first lockdown, which saw all charity shops closed for a few months from March last year.
Barnardo’s was then one of the first charity shops to announce plans to reopen 70 of its 700 UK shops in England from June 15.
The delivery fees on eBay vary between items, while Oxfam charges £3.95 for standard home delivery.
Can I still make donations to charity shops?
While charity shops such as Mind, Oxfam and British Red Cross remain closed, you won’t be able to make donations to them in-store.
However, many will allow you to make donations through the post.
For example, the British Heart Foundation lets you send smaller items such as branded clothing, jewellery and children’s toys for free.
Simply download a label on its website and head to your nearest Collect+ drop-off point with your package, as part of your essential shopping trip.
Once charity shops reopen, donating items will likely be different to how it was before the pandemic.
The Charity Retail Association (CRA) says donations should not be left outside of shop doors or in doorways.
Donors may be directed to “donation’” points, such as empty shops or warehouses, instead.
This means that, like clothing returns, all donations can be quarantined for a minimum for 72 hours to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Some charity shops may accept donations for online sales, so make sure you check their websites.
If you’d like to donate money, most charities will let you do this on their websites too.
Will there be social distancing in charity shops?
Yes. Charity shops, like other retailers, must meet certain government guidelines before reopening once restrictions are eased.
This includes installing hand sanitiser stations for staff and customers and regularly cleaning surfaces.
Social distancing will be in place outside of the charity shops and also inside stores.
Charity shops will also cap the number of people allowed in at any one time, and shoppers must wear face masks, unless exempt.
Customers are also being discouraged from picking up different items and putting them back.
We explain the full list of essential shops that can open during the third lockdown.
In January, the Covid threat level moved into its highest level for the first time ever.
The tighter restrictions come as the spread of the new strain of COVID-19 led to “rapidly escalating case numbers across the country”.