Charity shops were one of a string of businesses forced to close their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the lockdown which began almost three months ago. Non-essential retailers include shops selling clothes, toys, furniture, shoes, books, electronics, as well as tailors, auction houses, photograph studios and indoor markets. The hospitality sector is expected to follow suit soon, with Government officials saying that pubs, restaurants and cafes will be open from July 4 “at the earliest”. So, what about charity shops?
Which charity shops are open in the UK?
While non-essential retail was allowed to reopen, it does not mean that all charity shops will be open straight away.
With this in mind, it is advised that you check directly with your local charity shops to make sure they will be open before dropping in.
Charities in general are taking a more staggered approach to their reopening.
Age UK has decided to open a few sites between June 15 and June 22, while British Heart Foundation and Oxfam have opened a few stores to shoppers.
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Both BHF and Oxfam have said their intention is to have most shops up and running by the end of July at the latest.
Shops in Scotland and Wales, however, will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
Cancer Research will be opening shops from Monday, June 29, but this will vary from place to place and has warned that it could be July or August by the time they are all open again.
Additionally, shopping in charity shops will be somewhat different than it was pre-pandemic.
There are, however, no new restrictions on what you can give away, with the majority of charities saying they are happy to accept donations as usual.
Anything you take in will be held for at least 72 hours before it is processed and put out for sale.
Clothes will be steamed, and books, games and bric-a-brac will be wiped down before taking their place on the shelves.
The same procedure will apply to items returns by customers. Changing rooms will also remain closed.
Some charities, including the British Heart Foundation, are implementing procedures to help people donate remotely – which may be of use to people shielding.
For those who are unable to make the trip into the store, some charities will be operating a postal donation service.
You may be able to arrange collection from your home, depending on the availability of drivers in your area.
Most stores will be doing what they can to help customers who may not be able to stand for long periods of time while queueing outside shops.
If you feel as though this may apply to you, or you need help, get in touch with the shop ahead of your visit to be on the safe side.