What changes will be the next to test garden centres as we exit the Covid-19 lockdown? A change to Sunday trading rules and restricted reopening of restaurants?
Relaxing Sunday Trading rules
Over the weekend it was widely touted that Government could relax the Sunday trading restrictions for a year to help speed the recovery post Coronavirus.
Would garden centres welcome this? It would give customers longer to shop and eat on a Sunday, but it could also mean reworking staff contracts and working rotas.
In 2016, the HTA backed an amendment to the Enterprise Bill, which would have devolved to local authorities the power to relax Sunday trading restrictions in their areas. It said, “The ability to trade for longer on Sundays could provide a welcome shot in the arm for garden centres.” The amendment fell after an alliance of Labour, Scottish Nationalists and 26 Tory rebels defeated Government proposals.
Today the HTA’s James Clark said the association had not consulted with members but he felt the majority would be in favour of removing the restrictions.
The HTA hopes we will hear an update from Government this week covering the timing and conditions for reopening restaurants. It believes that restricted re-opening could start early in July.
Before it can issue a guidance to garden centres it and they will need to know, whether the safe social distance will be reduced from the current 2m and whether catering will be restricted to outside areas?
Non-essential shops re-opening
Since May 18, garden centres have benefitted from being one of a limited number of retail outlets permitted to open. From Monday June 15 most shops will be permitted to reopen. This will increase the competition for garden and DIY stores, especially as gardening comes to the end of its spring season.