COVID 19: Norvic Situation & Post Office info

Coronavirus update - Sunday 22 March
You have probably had the greatest number of emails on a single subject ever, over the last two weeks, as your online supermarket, utility providers, banks, mortgage companies, internet service providers, etc, all tell you how you will be affected, either by changes to their services or by allowing payment holidays if you are in financial hardship.
What are we doing? Well, despite some people thinking we have an army of people sending out orders and maintaining website, blog and shop, it is only a family business. And we are all in one or more of the 'vulnerable' categories. So travel is kept to the minimum, our post is delivered, and we will try to get some home deliveries of essential foods. Fortunately we stock up during winter to ensure that if there are any normal seasonal problems we can survive.
(See update below)
About stamps, the blog and the shop.
The Blog: as you will have seen there has been a flurry of activity this week. With the help of contributors, normal reporting will continue while we can.
Stamps and the Shop: In periods of self-isolation, or enforced lockdown, working on your stamp collection is one way to keep yourself occupied – after all you can only watch so many tv programmes in a day.
To avoid going out, we looked at using courier services which would collect orders from us and found that the minimum costs of sending a basic letter-sized packet (c5, under 500g) would be around £4.50 to UK addresses. We can't go down this avenue.
We could could take paid orders but only go to the post office when it can be combined with other journeys. This would work, but would leave customers uncertain as to when their stamps would arrive, and mean that we had their money for an indefinite period without supplying anything.
We could take unpaid orders, and let customers know when to pay us. So you could still choose and reserve stamps; you could change your mind and we would simply cancel the order – no questions asked; we could then make available everything that is on our product database, and make the hidden categories re-appear.
But ultimately the situation is going to escalate. We don't expect to be going out much at all. What we all thought was a good idea – get fresh air in the country – is not because facilities there are fewer than in the cities and the local population will be vulnerable to visitors from the cities.
So reluctantly we have decided to close the shop indefinitely, until the crisis is over. You've probably got enough stamps to keep you gong for a while, and as we are not selling, everything we have listed will be there when we come back – and maybe there will be more.


Update evening 23 March.
So, as it happens, we were only just ahead of the government on this.  Tonight's announcement by the Prime Minister would have solved the dilemma for us if the decision had not already been taken. For the benefit of those outside the UK, all non-food/banking outlets have to close, and we are prohibited from leaving the house except for brief exercise and then only with members of the household or one other. What I call 'the German' system, as they introduced it just a short while earlier.

UPDATE 7 April.
An anonymous comment elsewhere on the blog:
The List of post offices closures linked to the pandemic is ever growing. Most offices listed on 1 April were closures, with all from 2 April being closures. As usual the Post Office are listing them here (there is some backlog as you might expect)
https://www.postofficeviews.co.uk/consultation_finder/?keyword=&b_start=0&sort_on=iconsultable_startdate&sort_order=descending
This has to be the least useful of identifying any temporary closures due to the pandemic.  

The Branch Finder on the main site, however, does show revised opening times for branches.  
Our non-franchised Post Offices and WH Smiths branches are now open 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 12:30pm Saturday." 

For individual branches, instead of amending the regular information table, a yellow flash shows the revised times.  However, for sub-post offices and even Mains, as the ownership is in the hands of the individual SPM the situation can vary from day to day.

Thank you for your continued support, and good wishes, and please do stay safe. We wish you well,
Ian, Val & John Billings