The HTA has published a Safe Trading Guidance to be signed by all retail members, which limits the number of customers in store, defines the products that can be sold and outlines procedures to be followed.
The document has been written as part of HTA efforts to ensure garden centres re-open as part of the first relaxation of lockdown. It follows discussion with the British Retail Consortium and relevant Government bodies.
The main criteria to maintain customer and staff safety are that: -
- Cafes / restaurants should remain closed
- Products to be sold should be restricted to plants; seeds; bulbs; composts /growing media; pots/ planters; garden hardware (tools; propagation equipment; fertilisers; pest control; irrigation etc.) and those products directly associated with the support thereof; pet foods and accessories; food products/cookware
- No giftware/homeware; clothing; garden furniture; large BBQs to be sold on site. Instead online sales and home delivery are encouraged. Customer access to these areas should be physically restricted
- Promotion of special deals that lead to a surge in customers are strongly advised against
- The strong recommendation is that customer numbers be controlled to 1 per 1000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, but operators should use their discretion as to what is safe
- There should be separate entrances and exits.
All HTA member garden centres will be asked to sign up to the HTA Safe Trading Guidance. The process will be managed via the plantsnearme.hta.org.uk website, with consumers able to see which businesses are following the guidelines.
The HTA has also produced signage that can be downloaded.
HTA Chairman, James Barnes, said, “We are doing everything we can to enable garden centres to reopen safely and as soon as possible should the government alter the guidelines for our sector. This new guidance document is integral for all operators to get back to business as safely as they can and gives them the help they need to protect their staff and customers in these unsettling times.”
The full document can be downloaded from this page.