The whole country is now in living in lockdown. But what does this mean? How has it affected your plans? Will you be refunded for things you’ve missed out on? Are places still open? This blog explains few things and gives you useful information you may need for lockdown life.
Some places are still open
All non-essential shops, leisure facilities, libraries, community centres, places of worship, hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts and campsites among other businesses and venues have all been ordered to close. This does not include some places which may surprise you.
Off-licences and takeaways are remaining open. This includes some of your favourite restaurants. Although they may now be closed for eating in, many are still accepting orders for deliveries. Some pubs are even now operating as off licences where you can go and buy alcohol to take home.
Petrol stations are still open to supply fuel to key workers driving to work. Garages will also remain open for car repairs and maintenance as well as bicycle shops.
If you’ve had a disaster at home and think your DIY skills might be up to the challenge, home and hardware stores are still open. This is because they sell essential materials to keep our homes warm and safe.
If your pet is under the weather thankfully vets are still open. With supermarket shelves being empty it also may be handy to know that pet shops are still open, where you can get your supply of pet food.
Of course, although we have suggested these places we urge you to stay at home unless absolutely necessary and follow the government’s guidelines.
Contactless spending limits have been increased
The maximum contactless payment limit has now been increased to £45 from £30. This has been brought in to minimise the amount of times people touch a card machine’s keypad to pay. For payments over the limit, you can still pay using chip and pin or on your smartphone as this usually doesn’t have a limit.
Although this change was brought in on Wednesday 1st April it may not work with every retailer just yet as it can take a while to come into effect.
Is your MOT Due? You may have a six-month extension
Many drivers are worried that during lockdown they won’t be able to get their vehicles tested. Because of this, the government announced on Wednesday 25th March that if the expiry date on your car, motorcycle or van’s MOT is on or after 30th March, you DON’T have to get it tested by then.
Instead, everyone with an expiry date on or after the 30th March will be given an automatic six-month extension. For example, if your expiry date was on 7th April it will now be on 7th October. Bear in mind that garages will still be open for drivers to keep their vehicles in good driving condition during the lockdown.
Extended returns time
With all non-essential shops now closed, some major retailers have extended their returns policies for people who may not be able to return due to self-isolating.
TK Maxx has extended its returns policy for people who can’t make returns due to store closures. They have said people can now make returns up to 30 days from when the store reopens. John Lewis has taken a similar approach, allowing customers who made purchases on 18th February or later to return items up to 35 days after the store reopens.
H&M has extended its 28 day returns policy to 100 days for in-store and online purchases, while New Look has extended its returns period to 90 days. These are just a few examples for reference.
The lockdown means that your local gym will be closed. You might now be regretting signing up to that membership in January. The good news is most major gym chains have automatically paused payments until they reopen. For people who have paid upfront for an annual membership, the gym will extend the membership by the number of days closed. The Gym, Pure Gym and Virgin Active have said they will refund unused days once the gyms reopen.
Gig been cancelled?
Public gatherings of more than two people have now been banned and people have been instructed to stay at home unless they are doing exercise or essential food shopping. This means that many gigs and concerts have now been cancelled or postponed.
If you were planning on going to an event which is now cancelled, you should get a refund. Ticketmaster have said they will refund any ticket for an event cancelled due to Coronavirus but booking and shipping fees seem to be more unclear. Skiddle have said they will deal with ticket refunds on a case by case basis. It is best to get in touch with the ticket outlet and double-check their terms and conditions.
If you have ‘consequential losses’ as a result of a cancelled event, such as accommodation booking it is worth contacting them to see if you can get a refund or stay another time. If you have travel insurance, it’s also worth checking if you are covered.
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