Are charity shops open and how can I donate to Mind, Oxfam, and British Red Cross? – The Sun

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.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week announced a national shutdown to help stop the spread of coronavirus and save the NHS.

As a result, all non-essential shops and businesses must close until at least mid-February.

Where non-essential retailers aren't allowed to keep their physical stores open, they can still sell things online for delivery and click and collect.

But some stores that the government deems "essential" are allowed to stay open for browsing, including supermarkets, DIY shops and garden centres.

List of businesses that must close

THE government has confirmed the below list of businesses that must shut during the lockdown in England.

  • Non-essential retailers, such as clothing and homeware stores
  • Vehicle showrooms, other than for rental
  • Betting shops
  • Tailors
  • Tobacco and vape shops
  • Electronic goods and mobile phone shops
  • Auction houses, except for auctions of livestock and agricultural equipment
  • Market stalls selling non-essential goods
  • Bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants except for takeaway and delivery
  • Hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances
  • Leisure centres and gyms
  • Swimming pools, sports courts, fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses
  • Theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries
  • Casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys
  • Skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas
  • Circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks
  • Zoos, safari parks, and aquariums
  • Indoor attractions at venues such as botanical or other gardens, biomes or greenhouses
  • Hairdressers, barbers and nail salons
  • Tattoo and piercing shops
  • Beauty and tanning salons
  • Nightclubs and adult entertainment venues
  • Community centres and halls apart from a few exceptions

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.

However, online customers are still able to shop from Mind's and British Red Cross' eBay stores, for example, while Oxfam has an online shop on its website.

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.

Once they reopen, you can resume donating your items but not in the same way as before.

The Charity Retail Association (CRA) says donations should not be left outside of shop doors or in doorways.

Donors may also 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.

Alternatively, 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.

Last week, 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 has led to "rapidly escalating case numbers across the country".

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