Are charity shops open in Scotland? If second-hand clothes shops reopened at the same time as non-essential stores

After closing due to lockdown in March, non-essential retailers in Scotland are now open

Non-essential retailers in Scotland have reopened their doors to the public, but are charity shops also now open?

Here’s what you need to know.

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Will charity shops also be opening their doors to the public? (Photo: Shutterstock)Will charity shops also be opening their doors to the public? (Photo: Shutterstock)
Will charity shops also be opening their doors to the public? (Photo: Shutterstock)

When will charity shops open in Scotland?

Non-essential retailers, such as clothing stores, are now permitted to open to the public. Charity shops are also able to reopen, but some stores may choose to open on different dates.

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Charity shops face a number of new challenges, as all new donations will have to be quarantined for 72 hours before they can be displayed on the shop floor. An influx of donated items is expected, as a result of clear outs during the lockdown period.

Disability charity Sense Scotland are reopening some of their charity shops on Monday 6 July. The charity will open seven shops initially, in Bathgate, Castlemilk, Parkhead, Partick, Peebles, Perth, and St Andrews, with a phased return of the rest of the stores.

Shelter Scotland will also be reopening the first of its stores on Monday 6 July, including branches in Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow.

Ailene Young, Head of Retail for Shelter Scotland, said: “Our shops are at the heart of their local communities and we get a tremendous amount of support from donors, customers and volunteers which allows us to plough profits into the good work that Shelter Scotland does delivering information, advice and representation to keep people in their homes or access help in a crisis, and to lobby for homelessness to be prevented.”

Not all Shelter shops are open from 6 July, and some opening hours will vary in order to allow extra time for staff to travel safely and do additional cleaning, so it’s worth calling ahead to check your local shop will be open.

What new safety measures will be in place in charity shops?

Numerous safety measures will be in place in the Sense stores, including social distancing markers, till shields, one-way systems and the easy availability of hand sanitiser.

As in other charity shops, donations to Sense Scotland will be subject to a 72 hour long ‘quarantine’ in order to minimise the risk of transmission of coronavirus. Clothes will be steam cleaned and furniture cleaned and checked carefully.

Outstanding deliveries and collection of furniture will be prioritised before new items can be processed.

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Shelter stores will see staff wearing PPE, with hand sanitizer at the door and a 2m distancing rule in place. People will not be able to try on clothes but they are extending their returns policy. All donations or returned items will also be quarantined for three days and steamed before being put out for sale.

Can I donate to charity shops?

Since lockdown, Sense Scotland has had multiple requests to take donations and questions about reopening, and is expecting both a surge in donations and a rush of customers to their doors.

Barnardo's is advising customers to call their local store before donating in order to ensure that the shop is able to take the items and to help manage the expected influx of donations.

What can customers do to keep safe when shopping?

New guidance has been published for consumers, which includes the measures that they can take to keep safe and reduce risk when shopping.

This includes reducing the frequency of your shopping trips and not shopping at times where shops are busy in order to avoid crowds.

What are non-essential shops?

Non-essential retailers include shops selling clothes, toys, furniture, shoes, books, electronics, alongside tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets.

How has the lockdown impacted retail?

The temporary closure of clothes stores during lockdown has had a significant impact on businesses, with clothing outlets Oasis and Warehouse closing permanently, resulting in the loss of 1,800 jobs.

Debenhams also entered into administration for the second time in a year in April, forcing some of its branches to stay shut permanently.