POST Office branches can remain open during the coronavirus lockdown in England as they're considered an "essential" business.
This is because they provide banking services, ways to collect benefits and pay bills, and letter and parcel sending facilities.
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Are Post Offices open today?
Post Offices have remained open during previous lockdowns in England and it's the same this time around.
There are around 11,500 Post Office branches across the UK, the majority of which are run independently or as a franchise arrangement.
Opening hours may change at short notice in order for the branch to deep clean or due to coronavirus-related staff sickness.
What are Post Offices opening times?
Opening times have always varied by branch, with no set hours across the network.
Standalone Post Offices are currently open but hours vary from branch to branch, with closures on Sunday.
The first hour of every day in Post Offices which aren’t franchised or part of newsagents is for elderly and vulnerable customers as well as NHS staff and care workers.
For opening hours of other Post Offices, you'll need to check its online branch finder tool.
Hours are subject to change, so keep an eye on your local branch website for information.
If you pop down to your local Post Office and it's closed, there should be a poster in the window advertising where your nearest open branch is.
Businesses that can stay OPEN during England’s third lockdown
THE list of businesses that are allowed to stay open during lockdown is largely the same as last time. These include:
- Takeaways, food deliveries and food shops
- Health shops
- Medical services, such as dentists
- Pet shops
- Hardware stores
- Garden centres
- Retail shops in hospitals
- Petrol stations
- Bicycle shops
- Laundrettes and dry cleaners
- Banks, building societies
- Short-term loan providers, credit unions and cash points
- Storage and distribution centres
- Post Offices
- Car rental services and car parks near vital services such as supermarkets
- Public toilets
- Car garages and repair shops
- Food banks and shelters
- Hotels, hostels and other accommodation (for work purposes only)
What services does the Post Office offer?
As well as sending letters and parcels, you can also use your Post Office to access your high street bank account and make withdrawals, deposits, balance enquiries and more.
Customers can also verify documents via the Post Office's GOV.UK services.
The service was struggling with delays earlier this year, but it's now said to be fully operational.
If you need help, you can email [email protected] and someone will get back to you as soon as they can.
Post is also still being collected and delivered, although the Royal Mail warns there could be delays to deliveries in some areas due to resourcing issues.
A statement on its website says: "Despite our best efforts and significant investment in extra resource, some customers may experience slightly longer delivery timescales than our usual service standards.
"This is due to the exceptionally high volumes of mail posted during this further lockdown period, alongside necessary coronavirus-related measures we have put in place in local mail centres and delivery offices to keep our people and customers safe."
To minimise risk, workers will have to stay two metres apart with only one person in a Royal Mail delivery vehicle at any one time.
And to avoid spreading germs on handheld signature devices, postmen and postwomen will instead log the name of the person accepting the item, and sign on their behalf.
Having knocked on the door, parcels will be placed on the doorstep with Royal Mail staff then stepping aside to a safe distance while households retrieve their item.
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