Oxford is set to burst back to life from 12th April as more coronavirus restrictions are lifted. Businesses and services allowed to reopen include hospitality (outdoor-only for now); non-essential retail; personal care premises (hair and beauty salons); libraries, community centres and sports facilities. We are encouraging everyone to support local businesses as they reopen - here are some we know about, but we'll be updating this info regularly, so if anything is missing, do let us know by emailing [email protected].
Food & Drink
As of 12th April, pubs and restaurants are allowed to open for outdoor dining/drinking only. One selfless Oxford resident has made this handy map of the city's beer gardens to get you started!
Non-essential shops are allowed to reopen from 12th April. Masks remain compulsory inside shops unless you're exempt, and businesses have been asked to make adaptations to allow for social distancing.
In line with the new regulations, the non-essential shops in The Covered Market are reopening on 12th April, and the market's trading hours will return to 9am- 5pm Monday–Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sundays - although individual traders' hours may vary.
Gloucester Green Market returns from Wednesday, 14th April and will be open for its usual hours of 9am-4pm Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 9am-5pm Fridays and Saturdays. Browse fresh produce, household goods, flowers, books, vintage arts, clothes, and street food all in the open air: they've introduced a raft of measures to ensure maximum social distancing and covid-safety.
Coinciding with the return of hospitality, Bird & Blend Tea Co are opening a new store on Oxford High Street. They have an enticing range of innovative hand-blended tea flavours such as carrot cake tea, mojito tea, and (specially for spring) hot cross bun tea. They're offering a free cuppa to the first 50 customers who sign up to their mailing list.
Blackwell's bookshops on Broad Street and in the Westgate, plus their Art & Poster Shop, are all reopening on Monday, and to celebrate they are offering all customers who visit a chance to win a signed copy of Northern Lights by Philip Pullman - just speak to a bookseller instore to be included in the draw. If you're in need of books but can't visit just yet, they're continuing to offer their popular bike-based local delivery service.
Fairtrade at St Michael's are celebrating their return to normal opening hours (10am-5pm, Mon-Sat) with a clearance sale, so head along to find some ethically-sourced bargains. They will continue to run their Click&Collect and Mail Order services.
Libraries and sports facilities
Most of Oxfordshire's libraries are reopening on the 12th, though with hours temporarily limited. All loans are extended to 10th May, but no customers will be penalised as a result of having to self-isolate or being unable to travel to return library loans. If there are exceptional circumstances that prevent you from returning or renewing your loans, contact your nearest open library.
Ferry Leisure, Barton Leisure and Leys Pools and Leisure Centre are getting set to open their doors to customers. This adds to the swimming at Hinksey Outdoor Pool which will is already open for the public. Initially not all facilities will be open at every site. On 12 April, Ferry Leisure Centre will open its gym and swimming pool (adult lane swimming only) and Leys Pools and Leisure Centre will open for gym only.
More facilities will open on 19 April, with a phased swimming programme beginning at Leys Pools and Leisure and Barton Leisure Centre opening for gym only. The pool at Barton is expected to open in the last week of April. Until 17 May at the earliest, exercise will be restricted to personal fitness only, with no groups or classes in the centres.
Parks and outdoor spaces maintained by Oxford City Council remain open, as do Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum, and Waterperry Gardens
Oxfordshire County Council's Birth and Death Registration services are still running although some offices are closed. Under the national lockdown rules introduced November 2020, funerals may take place for up to 30 attendees, but weddings and civil partnerships (apart from deathbed weddings) are not permitted.
Almost all of of Oxfordshire’s household waste recycling centres (Alkerton, Ardley, Dix Pit, Drayton, Oakley Wood, Redbridge and Stanford in the Vale) have re-opened with reduced hours and social distancing guidelines.
Oxford City Council is still taking bookings for its bulky waste collection service. For more information, a list of accepted items, and to book a collection, please visit the City Council website.
At a time when staying fit, not coming into close contact with others, and avoiding public transport where possible are of paramount importance, bikes are a great option for people who need to get around.
Broken Spoke Bike Co-op is open for bike repairs and second hand cycle sales, Tues and Fri, 9am-5pm
Summertown Cycles remains open on usual hours, with extra measures in place to minimise face-to-face contact. Its sister business Bike Zone Oxford will stay open as usual for the rest of this week (5th-8th Nov), after which point the owners will take a decision on how to proceed over this next lockdown.
Walton Street Cycles is open and offering all normal services for folks who rely on their bicycles, with have extra safety measures in place in store. The team are extending their mobile services to all key workers outside of standard working hours – if you are a key worker or know someone that relies on their bike, please get in touch on 01865 311 610 and the team will do their best to help.
Most supermarkets' websites no longer mention offering exclusive access during 'priority hours' for NHS workers and vulnerable shoppers, but Waitrose, Sainsbury's and Tesco are instead offering priority access for these customers at any time - which means if there's a queue due to the limiting of shopper numbers, you can skip to the front. The following still offer priority hours:
Morrisons stores are open from 6-7am Monday - Saturday specifically for NHS workers.
Asda will be prioritising NHS workers in larger stores every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am - 9am.
Food Banks and Community Larders
In addition to what's below, see Oxford City Council's page for food access services. Another useful point of contact food food provision (especially if you're self-isolating) is SOFEA. If you're unsure where or how to access help from a food bank, you can call the City Council Contact Centre on 01865 249 811 or use this online form.
Central Oxford Mosque in partnership with Clickit 247 are running an Essential Item Bank, offering free food and other essential items to anyone in need, every day, 6-7pm, during Ramadan. Collect from outside Central Oxford Mosque, Manzil Way OX4 1DJ
OX4 Free Food Crew is a new partnership between Flo's - The Place in the Park, Ark-T, Waste2Taste and Oxford Hub which has been set up to alleviate food poverty for people affected by COVID-19. They are providing cooked meals for: isolated people over 70 and those with underlying health conditions; isolated single-parent families; people who are homeless or vulnerably housed. Find out more here.
Rose Hill Community Larder, Rose Hill Community Centre, 2.15-4pm Tuesday
Rose Hill Methodist Church Community Cupboard - collection in time slots, get in touch to book.
Barton Community Association, Barton Neighbourhood Centre - 2-6pm Tuesdays
Blackbird Leys Community Larder, Blackbird Leys Community Centre - 3-5 Wednesdays
Botley Community Fridge - Church of St. Peter & St. Paul, 81 West Way, Botley OX2 9JY - Mon-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 11am-4pm
Abingdon Community Fridge - current opening hours are Mondays 5-6pm and Saturdays 10.30-11.30am. Depending on donations they are open for occasional bonus days so keep an eye on the Facebook page.
Abingdon Community Larder (run by SOFEA) - runs on Fridays from 2:30pm for approximately 2 hours, at the Carousel Family Centre, OX14 5GZ
Abingdon Food Bank is still running. Sessions are on Tuesdays and Fridays 11am-1pm, from their main site at Christ Church on Northcourt Road, OX14 1PL, and on Wednesdays 1-2.30pm at Preston Road Community Centre, OX14 5NR. You need to have a voucher to receive food.
Witney and West Oxfordshire Food Bank at Cottsway House, OX28 4YG, 10am-1pm, Mon-Fri (open for receiving donations and honouring vouchers). You will need to register in advance for a voucher.
Witney Community Fridge - Mon 12th April 2021 and Tues 13th,11am-12noon. Thereafter 10am-12noon Tuesdays and Saturdays.Giving away pre-packed bags of surplus food to anyone in need (just turn up and queue, maintaining a 2m distance, no referral needed) free of charge. Based at the rear courtyard of High St Methodist Church OX28 6ES. For people who are in financial need but unable to get out (due to self-isolating), they offer a free delivery service in partnership with Witney Land Army. Please email your name, address and any relevant dietary details to [email protected]