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Sunbury Antiques fair at Kempton Park Racecourse pictured during the summer, between lockdowns. All non-essential retail, markets and fairs have had to close during the current lockdown.

January’s planned Ardingly Antiques Market in West Sussex, the Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park Racecourse and Sandown Antiques Home & Interiors Market in Surrey are all postponed. Organisers await updates from government about when events can resume. Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered “the middle of February” as a possible time when some restrictions may ease but the current rules are due to be in place until March 31.

Auction houses, shops and centres are able to continue to trade online.

Premises must remain closed to the public but online-only auctions, website sales, ‘click and collect’ and deliveries can still be undertaken. Auction houses and valuers can also offer professional services.

The Society of Fine Art Auctioneers (SOFAA) received conf irmation from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) that art and antiques businesses can continue to trade through the latest alert level 5 national lockdown in England which was announced on January 4.

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 conf irmed 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”.

Many UK auction houses are adopting a ‘business as usual’ approach and are continuing to conduct sales and accept consignments into auctions to be staged in February and March.

However, there have been some notable postponed sales in January and February including those at Woolley & Wallis, Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood and Chorley’s. Lawrences of Crewkerne’s general sale scheduled for January 13 will go ahead online but it has postponed its Fine Art Sale scheduled for January 26-29 until April.

Details on the new lockdown in England can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Devolved nations have different rules which can be checked online.

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, the Republic of Ireland returned to its highest-level lockdown – level 5 – and museums, galleries, non-essential shops and markets must be closed.