Almost 150 B&Q stores have re-opened selling plants and gardening items. How long can Government continue to discriminate against garden centres, when 70% of the public say they would feel comfortable there?
In the last few days B&Q has lifted the number of stores it has re-opened from 14 to near 150 and is likely to increase this number. Now there are reports that some Morrisons stores have increased their plant offer and are filling their closed cafés with garden products.
While this is good for their plant suppliers, it discriminates against garden centres who are forced to remain closed to customers and are limited to running home deliveries. They are swamped as a quick visit to Facebook would show.
The public and the national press clearly support garden centres being allowed to trade. Their large footprint and outside areas are conducive to maintaining social distances. In a recent YouGov survey 70% or respondents said would feel comfortable visiting a garden centre.
The HTA is pushing for a re-opening of garden centres, excluding the restaurants, as long as they ensure staff and customers can observe social distancing and are within Government guidelines.
To do so now would prevent the already substantial damage to the UK ornamental horticultural industry getting worse. It would also encourage the public to do something healthy, like growing their own food, rather than draining the off licence, a retailer that is considered essential during the lockdown.
Click here to see which B&Q stores are open