Will banks and post offices be open during England’s lockdown?
As England enters a second national lockdown today, customers will be wondering what shops can remain open as non-essential retail is forced to close.
This means the shutters will be pulled down on clothing, toys and stationary stores as well as gyms and leisure centres. So where does that leave banks and post offices?
Will I still be able to visit my local bank branch?
According to the latest guidelines on lockdown, banks will be able to remain open throughout the lockdown from 5 November to 2 December.
In addition, building societies, loan providers and money transfer businesses will also remain open.
What changes can I expect when I visit my bank?
Customers will be expected to wear face covering when visiting a bank branch, as well as adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Banks such as Lloyds and Halifax have confirmed that measures already in place will continue, with a limited number of people allowed within a premises at one time.
Barclays have asked that customers help reduce congestion at branches by only visiting if they have an urgent financial matter which cannot wait.
Banks are also asking that you check online to ensure your branch has not been closed temporarily, which was the case for some throughout the UK during the first lockdown due to staff shortages and deep cleaning.
I am shielding, how else can I access and manage my account?
All customers are being advised to use phone and online banking where possible, as the government has called for people only to visit shops and services for essential reasons and when there is no alternative option.
Any customer can access their bank and savings accounts online or via phone banking, as long as they have signed up to this service.
For anyone who has not signed up, this can be done by phoning the customer service number or requesting support to do so by calling your local branch.
Banks such as TSB are also offering people who do not have access to digital services to open digital banking through a designated family member or trusted friend. This can also be arranged by calling your local branch.
Online banking allows you to view your accounts, set up and manage direct debits, pay people and businesses and transfer money between your own accounts, as well as a host of other services.
Can I visit the post office?
Yes, post offices will be open but they will also have a number of changes to the customer experience and delivery times.
Social distancing will be practiced in all post offices and hand sanitising will be available in stores.
Customers can continue to use post offices to send cheques and postal orders, access cash, send letters and parcels and use PayZone services.
Are there changes to delivery services?
Although no new guidelines have been published, the Royal Mail introduced changes in September which impact the time guarantee on Special Delivery and Saturday delivery and opening hours of Customer Service Points at local delivery offices.
Signed for deliveries will be limited and no contact delivery methods will be carried out where possible.
Customers are asked to be patient as some deliveries may take longer than usual to arrive, due to social distancing in warehouses reducing the speed of processing orders and a potential increase in the use of Royal Mail services for online shopping as non-essential retail closes.