Updated: 5th May 2021

This document aims to provide a concise summary of the latest Covid-19 regulations that relate to charity retail. Given the frequency of Government policy changes it will be regularly updated so please check back regularly to check that you are using the most recent version.

The information included in this document should be considered in conjunction with the CRA’s reopening pack and Government guidelines for retail including:

UK and England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland

The Scottish Government has produced a range of posters and other digital assets to support reopening which can be accessed from their Reopening Toolkit.


EnglandScotlandWalesNorthern Ireland
Can charity shops open?Yes.Yes. Yes.Yes.
Are homeware stores able to open?Yes.Yes. Yes.Yes.
Risk assessmentsA COVID-19 risk assessment must be completed and kept up to date. This includes a requirement to consult and communicate with workers. Failure to complete an adequate risk assessment which takes account of COVID-19 could constitute a breach of UK health and safety law.A COVID-19 risk assessment must be completed and kept up to date. This includes a requirement to consult and communicate with workers. Failure to complete an adequate risk assessment which takes account of COVID-19 could constitute a breach of UK health and safety law.UK guidance applies. A COVID-19 risk assessment must be completed and kept up to date. This includes a requirement to consult and communicate with workers. Failure to complete an adequate risk assessment which takes account of COVID-19 could constitute a breach of UK health and safety law. And, Welsh law specifies that the following risk mitigation measures must be in place: controlling entry and limiting the number of customers in the store; provision of hand sanitisation products/ hand washing facilities for customers when they enter and exit; measures to sanitise any baskets/ trolleys and reminding customers to socially distance A COVID-19 risk assessment must be completed and kept up to date. This includes a requirement to consult and communicate with workers. Failure to complete an adequate risk assessment which takes account of COVID-19 could constitute a breach of UK health and safety law.
Is click and collect allowed? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Can donations be accepted?Yes. Yes.Yes.Yes.
Social distancingEvery reasonable effort should be taken to maintain social distancing of 2 metres or 1 metre if 2 metres is not viable.All reasonable measures must be taken to ensure social distancing of 2 metres. This is a direct legal requirement. Exceptions apply for people from the same householdAll reasonable measures must be taken to ensure social distancing of 2 metres. This is a direct legal requirement. Exceptions apply for people from the same householdPeople should maintain 2 metres social distancing where possible. In June, the First Minister indicated that 1 metre could be considered acceptable if appropriate mitigations are in place.
Face coveringsCustomers are required to wear face coverings in shops. Staff and volunteers must wear face coverings when in areas that are open to the public and where they are likely to come within close contact of the public. Face coverings are not required if there is an adequate physical barrier or screen between workers and members of the public. Enforcement action can be taken if a screen is not deemed adequate.Customers are required to wear face coverings in shops. Staff and volunteers are required to wear face coverings unless they are physically separated, by for example, partition screens, from customers or if they maintain a 2 metre distance from customers. Staff and volunteers are required to wear face coverings in communal staff areas.Customers are required to wear face coverings in shops. Staff and volunteers must wear face coverings in all parts of a shop open to the public. Staff and volunteers are not required by law to wear face coverings in parts of a shop closed to the public. However, face coverings are advised if physical distancing cannot be maintained and there is a requirement for businesses to consider whether they are necessary. Face coverings are not required behind plastic partitions if they provide sufficient protection and if there is only one staff member/ volunteer behind the partition.Customers are required to wear face coverings in shops. Staff and volunteers must wear face coverings unless they “are behind a partition, or if in an area not open to the public and can maintain a two-metre social distance from your colleagues”
Face visors/ shieldsGovernment guidance is silent on this point. However, we are advised by Government officials that a face visor / shield is not an acceptable form of face coverings. The CRA recommendation is that face visors / shields cannot be used as a form of face covering,The law excludes face shields and visors from the definition of a face covering.Guidance clearly states that a visor or face shield is not a face covering and so cannot be worn as an alternative.The CRA recommendation is that face visors / shields cannot be used as a form of face covering
ExemptionsChildren under 11 are not required to wear face coverings. Exemptions from wearing a face covering include those who cannot wear them due to a health condition, disability or due to the wearing of a face covering causing distress.Children under 5 are not required to wear face coverings. Exemptions include a health condition or disability which means wearing a face covering would cause difficulty, pain or severe distress or anxiety.Children under 11 are not required to wear face coverings. Exemptions include cases where a physical or mental illness, disability or impairment mean people are not able to put on or to wear a face covering.Children under 13 are not required to wear face coverings. A reasonable excuse for not wearing a face covering includes if someone has a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means they cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering.
Enforcement by retailersRetailers must remind people to wear face coverings where they are required, for instance using signage or a verbal reminder.Retailers should take reasonable steps to encourage compliance.Retailers are required to provide information about the legal requirement to wear face coverings to those intending to enter their premises. This could be via information on a website or notices in shops (in Welsh and English).CRA recommend following UK guidance.
Isolation of stockNo longer required.

Tried on and returned clothing should be sanitised or stored for 72 hours before being put back on sale. This only applies to clothing and only to items tried on or returned.

Our best assessment of the available Scottish Government Guidance is that donated clothing does not need to be isolated for 72 hours or sanitised before being placed on sale. Nor do any other donated goods.

The Scottish Government has responded to our query on whether donated goods also need to be isolated by advising that: “It would be extremely difficult to establish which, if any, of the donated goods had in the previous 72 hours been tried on, handled or placed on a potentially contaminated surface prior to being donated. However it is for each business to assess the risk to themselves and their customers and take action appropriate to address those risks.”

No longer required.No longer required.
Shielding for the clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV)Shielding is currently paused. People who are on the CEV list should follow the same advice as the rest of the population, but are also advised to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe.At all levels you should continue to work from home where possible. However at Levels 0 to 3 you can return to work if it’s not possible to work from home. Shielding is currently paused. People who are on the CEV list should follow the same advice as the rest of the population, but are also advised to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe. Those who are CEV should continue to work from home where this is possible. If it is not possible, they can attend their workplace, provided the employer has taken proper measures to ensure social distancing, and they can travel to work in a way which allows for social distancing.
Capturing contact detailsRetail venues are not legally required to display NHS QR code posters or required to collect customer contact details. You should keep a temporary record of your staff and volunteer shift patterns for 21 days and ensure that you have up to date contact details.It would be advisable to retain details of working times and contact details for all staff and volunteers for 21 days.Customers in retail are not required to provide contact details. The following details should be collected for staff and volunteers: names, phone number, dates and times they were at work or volunteering. This information should be kept for 21 days.It would be advisable to retain details of working times and contact details for all staff and volunteers for 21 days.