Defra confirms garden centres will be able to reopen to the public from today (Wednesday 13 May).
The department emphasises that all garden centres reopening should put in place social distancing, cleaning and protective measures for both staff and customers.
In particular, they should ensure that people can stay 2m apart wherever possible, as is already the case in supermarkets and other shops which have remained open in recent weeks. Further detailed guidance for businesses has been published by BEIS.
Biosecurity Minister Lord Gardiner said, “We know that this time of year is crucial for the horticulture industry and are very aware of the impacts of coronavirus on the sector.
“Our decision to reopen garden centres and nurseries in a safe way, will allow businesses to sell their products directly to the public and in doing so bringing about wider benefits to consumers, especially for physical and mental wellbeing, which gardening can bring.
Use Goverment and the HTA's guidance
“It is vital all garden centres implement strict social distancing and I urge businesses to use the Government’s extensive guidance and the Horticultural Trades Association’s Safe Trading Guidance when planning their reopening.”
To help Garden Centres put in place appropriate measures, the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has also produced Safe Trading Guidance, closely aligned to the Government’s guidance and specifically for garden centres, which includes a series of recommendations to protect customers.
The guidance document has been based on insight from leading HTA retailers, the British Retail Consortium, and from government advice as a recommendation of best practice regarding social distancing. Recommendations include advice on customer numbers in stores, entrance and exit protocols, and queueing and checkout procedures. It also contains practical advice on how to protect the health and wellbeing of staff.