Updated: 04 January 2022. 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 on this page should be considered in conjunction Government guidelines for business:England
Scotland (including a retail checklist)
Wales (including action card on reasonable measures)
Northern Ireland


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. A COVID-19 risk assessment must be completed and kept up to date. A COVID-19 risk assessment must be completed and kept up to date. A COVID-19 risk assessment must be completed and kept up to date.
Is click and collect allowed? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Can donations be accepted?Yes. Yes.Yes.Yes.
Social distancing/ other mitigation measuresSocial distancing guidance no longer applies. However, it remains advisable to take steps to avoid overcrowding. Enhanced mitigations are required, such as: 1/ Managing customer numbers and flows to reduce congestion 2/ Promote, provide and maintain hygiene stations eg. hand sanitiser 3/ Enhanced cleaning 4/ Physical barriers eg. screens at till points 5/ Maximising fresh air 6/ Reminders to people to maintain a safe distance 7/ Promote face coverings All reasonable measures must be taken to support 2 metre social distancing. The following are also mandatory requirements: 1/ control entry and limit customer numbers 2/ provide hand sanitisation for customers 3/ ensure customer baskets are sanitised 4/ notices and/ announcements on 2 metre distancing and face coverings. Shops in Northern Ireland must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and consideration must be given to social distancing (2 metres), one-way systems, screens, barriers and capacity management. “
Face coveringsFace coverings must be worn by customers. Face coverings must also be worn by staff and volunteers in any indoor area open to the public and where they are likely to come into contact with a member of the public.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. Face coverings are advised if physical distancing cannot be maintained. 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/ shieldsA face visor/ shield may be worn in addition to a face covering but not instead of one.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
ExemptionsExemptions include children under 11 and anyone with a health condition or disability, which means they cannot wear a face covering.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 retailersShops must display signage or take other measures to ensure customers are aware of the requirement to wear a face covering on their premises where there is no applicable exemption..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.

For garments that have been tried on but not purchased and items that have been returned, shops should consider sanitising them before returning them to public display.

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.You should continue to work from home where possible. However if it’s not possible to work from home then you can goto work. 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.