New changes to lockdown rules mean non-essential retail will be allowed to open again from June 15, and many stores who have been out of action since March are preparing themselves for getting back to business. UK lockdown restrictions have been in place since March 23, when Boris Johnson announced strict social distancing measures to prevent further spread of coronavirus.
Retailers have had to find new ways to cope with the coronavirus crisis stalling sales for many who have not been able to move their businesses online.
With falling high street sales and increased online competition, some retailers were struggling before the coronavirus pandemic began.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, its impact has lessened their chances of survival.
The charity sector has received funding from the Government to help it through the crisis, although funding has been prioritised for those who can help specifically during the coronavirus crisis.
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When announcing the funding, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: He said: “We promised to do whatever it takes, and I am striving every day to keep that promise.
“But when I say that we all depend on each other, I don’t just mean the relationship between individuals, businesses and the state. One of our greatest strengths as a country is our civil society.
“The local charities who provide so much compassion, care and community to the most vulnerable in our country.”
When will charity shops reopen?
Charity shops will be allowed to reopen from June 15.
This does not mean all of them will open right away, as stores need to make sure they are ‘COVID-19 secure’ before opening doors again.
Due to the nature of charity shops, some changes will have to be made to the way stores operate, especially in terms of donations.
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Government guidelines state that any clothes that have been tried-on or returned by customers – in any normal store – must be quarantined for 72 hours in a separate room or container before going back onto the shop floor.
The Government has not issued any specific guidance for donated goods for charity shops, so most charity shop managers are working to adapt general retail guidelines using common sense.
Many charity shop chains will be applying the same time frame to donated clothing, shoes and accessories too.
Usual guidelines surrounding social distancing will also apply, such as keeping two metres apart and a limit on the amount of customers in store at any one time.
Oxfam released a statement outlining how it would be working toward reopening its stores.
It said: “We are working on a detailed plan to enable our high street shops to reopen but as yet we do not have a confirmed date.
“Our priority remains the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers and customers.
“Many of our volunteers are elderly and vulnerable and we are acutely conscious of our responsibilities towards them.”
Cancer Research has announced it will reopen stores from June 29.
What about making donations?
Charities have asked that people do not leave donations outside of store doors.
They have asked for people to hold onto donations and pass them on once stores have reopened.
Donations should also be disinfected or cleaned before being handed over, although charities will also do this once they receive the goods.
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