Art and antique businesses across England must close their premises to the public but can offer online-only auctions or conduct business remotely. Auction houses and valuers can also offer professional services.
Details of the latest national lockdown in England can be found here on the government website.
The Society of Fine Art Auctioneers (SOFAA) and ATG received confirmation from the Department of Culture, Media & Sport that art and antiques businesses can continue to trade through the latest tier 5 national lockdown.
Online auctions and website retail sales with 'click and collect' (where items can be collected from outside premises or delivered) are all permitted in England.
SOFAA chairman Helen Carless said: “DCMS confirmed auction houses must physically close to visitors but they can offer online-only auctions as they have been able to during both of the previous lockdowns. They can also continue to offer probate and other valuations.”
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy also confirmed to ATG that "tradespeople that have to go to other houses to work can continue as long as they operate in a COVID-secure way". Details on the guidance can be found here.
Devolved nations have different rules.
In Northern Ireland from December 26 all non-essential retail businesses closed and in mainland Scotland a new lockdown began on January 5 and non-essential retail will remain closed.
In Wales, a lockdown with non-essential shops closed, began on December 28 but non-essential retail can offer click and collect services.
Meanwhile, Ireland returned to its highest-level lockdown – level 5 – and non-essential shops must be closed. These measures will remain in place until at least January 12.
Check the relevant government websites for further details.
Separately the UK government announced "new lockdown grants" of £4.6bn. Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9000, the Chancellor has announced. Read more about the lockdown grants here.