Updated: 8 April 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


England and UKScotlandWalesNorthern Ireland
When can charity shops reopen?Charity shops will be allowed to reopen from 12th April 2021.The “expected” reopening date for charity shops is 26th April 2021. Charity shops will be allowed to reopen from 12th April 2021.No reopening date yet available.
Are homeware stores classed as essential retailers?NoHomeware shops can reopen from 5th April 2021. As elsewhere in the UK, the Scottish Government has not provided a definition of a homestore. The CRA view is that a shop can be considered as a homeware store provided that the majority of sales are of homeware items. A local authority might look at a combination of floor space dedicated to homeware, the value of homeware sales and transaction numbers in assessing whether the majority of sales are likely to relate to homeware items. NoNo
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.UK guidance applies.UK guidance applies. 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 UK guidance applies.
Are closed shops able to offer click and collect? Retailers can operate a click and collect service provided that the items are pre-ordered and that the customer does not enter the shop when collecting. From 5th April 2021, all click and collect services can restart. Customers must be provided with staggered collection timeslots and must not be allowed to enter the shop. All shops can offer click and collect or similar services. Items must be pre-ordered and customers should not be allowed to enter the closed shop. Every reasonable measure must be taken to ensure social distancing. Collection times should be staggered and if possible goods should not be passed hand-hand. All click and collect can recommence from 12th April 2021.
Accepting donationsThe regulations on this point are unclear and councils are interpreting in different ways. Our recommendation is that you should seek advice from each individual council in whose area you intend to accept donations outside of closed shops. Follow same advice as for UK.Follow same advice as for UK.Follow same advice as for UK.
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 clothes should be sanitised or stored for 72 hours before being put back on sale. Donated clothing is not covered by the advice from the Scottish Government and we are seeking clarity from them on whether we need to change our current advice which is that donated items, including clothes, no longer need to be isolated before they are put on sale.No longer required.No longer required.
Shielding for the clinically extremely vulnerableShielding is expected to end on 31st March 2021.Shielding is expected to continue until 26th April 2021. Shielding is expected to end on 31st March 2021. Shielding will start to ease from 12th April 2021.
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.