HTA eases its safe trading guidance for garden centres

Garden centres are hoping their reopening will be included in the first phase of easing the lockdown, which could be announced by the Prime Minister on Sunday and implemented next week.

In light of this the HTA has amended its advice on procedures to ensure safe opening for staff and customers, leaving more to the discretion of the operator.

The main criteria are: -

  • That a full risk assessment of each area of the store is carried out before opening,
  • Cafes /restaurants should remain closed with no on-site food consumption,
  • Other product areas that require more significant interaction with customers such as furniture and clothing will need separate procedures to ensure safety of staff and customers. Online sales of furniture in particular are encouraged
  • Operators should use their discretion as to what is the safe number of customers to allow in a garden centre at one time, with a recommendation of 1 per 1000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space,
  • The best way to managing queues at the entrance doors is to control the numbers of cars entering the carpark,
  • To separate the customer entrance from the exit.

The HTA’s head of communications, James Clark has told members, “We are hopeful that the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Sunday will see an announcement on the reopening of garden centres.”

He advised members, “We have updated our garden centre reopening Safe Trading Guidance. Please familiarise yourself with it as we will be asking members to agree to implement the measures as soon as a formal announcement is made regarding reopening.”

The revised document can be downloaded from this page.

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Here's what others have said...
Ryan,  13 May 2020:
...Hi, please can you make it clearer your guidelines for reopening, as I have several customers who still think that they can’t open up clothing areas as you initially stated. I know you have since changed this which is great but I think people might of missed it. I also understand that every centre will have its own regulations and operate differently. Thanks
Andy Smith,  7 May 2020:
...Thank you HTA for representing us and listening to all the comments, it is good to see the Association listening and changing it's guidelines after response from it's members. Well done
Supplier,  7 May 2020:
...Well there's a surprise following the backlash against their previous advice on not selling high ticket items such as BBQ's and furniture, meanwhile B&Q and Homebase can sell what they want.

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