The three assay offices based in England are set to remain open during the upcoming nationwide lockdown, they have confirmed.
It comes after prime minister Boris Johnson announced that the country would enter a nationwide lockdown from 5 November to 2 December.
The Edinburgh Assay Office in Scotland is exempt from lockdown, and will also continue to operate in the run-up to Christmas.
However, the Goldmsith’s Company Assay Office in London, said: “We are pleased to announce that we can remain open under new national restrictions which come into effect on 5 November. We will make regular updates throughout the developing situation.
“We will continue to follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers. We ask that customers do not send work into Assay if the items have come into contact with anyone who has, or is showing symptoms of, Covid-19.
It added: “Government guidelines state that the virus can live up to around 72 hours when it is felt the risk from any contaminated surface would significantly decrease. Therefore please wait for this period to lapse before sending items that could potentially be contaminated.
“Staff members are at high risk with numerous packets transferred to us every day. A reminder that, as a precautionary measure for our staff, we can no longer accept cash at the counters.”
The office added that it will be unable to amend any priority service packet detail in a bid to streamline its service at this time.
Ashley Carson, assay master and CEO at the Sheffield Assay Office said: “We are now preparing for a second lockdown from Thursday 5th November. The Office will remain open and we will continue to support the trade across both Hallmarking and Analytical Services.
“I would ask for your patience and understanding throughout this difficult time, as although my staff are working flat out, inevitably we are losing personnel to either positive COVID-19 tests or through them having to self-isolate due to Track & Trace.”
Meanwhile, the Birmingham Assay Office said it will continue to operate across all of its trading divisions during lockdown, adding that current lead times for all services remain unchanged at present, adding that “if turnaround times need to be extended, we will advise you at the appropriate time”.
It added: “Parcels will continue to be despatched on the relevant due dates, however, if your business is closing and you would prefer us to retain your parcel during the lockdown, please notify us as soon as possible by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Likewise, if you wish to change the despatch address, please notify us.”
All operating updates including opening hours, and service adaptations, are listed on their websites.