How garden centres will help us to grow apart

A social distancing and trading guide has been launched to help protect staff and customers when garden centres re-open.

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) advice covers products, customer numbers, entrance and exit protocols and queueing and checkout procedures.

It is part of the HTA’s campaign to reopen garden centres and they have also produced accompanying signage that can be downloaded from their website to support the implementation of social distancing measures.

James Barnes HTA
James Barnes: unique plight

The guidance document, which aims to ensure all garden centres open in a safe manner, should the Government formally announce a relaxation – has been informed by leading HTA retailers, the British Retail Consortium, and the relevant government guidance as a recommendation of best practice regarding social distancing.

It advises that products for sale are restricted to plants, seeds, bulbs, composts and growing media, pots and planters, garden hardware such as tools, propagation equipment, fertilisers and pest control along with items directly associated with these such as pet foods and accessories, food products and cookware.

No giftware, homeware, clothing, garden furniture or large BBQs and similar items should be sold on site with stores being encouraged to sell these products online instead. Cafes or restaurants are not allowed to open under the guidelines.

HTA chairman, James Barnes, said: “We have been highlighting the unique plight of the UK grower sector and the need for direct government assistance given the inapplicability of the current financial aid schemes.

We are doing everything we can to enable garden centres to reopen safely

“Opening garden centres will not only help open sales outlets but will assist the mental health and well-being of so many people isolating at home and the importance of having something to do at home keeps you at home.

“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.

“Similar to supermarkets, most garden centres are well placed to adhere to strict social distancing measures due to their size and spacious facilities including outdoor areas.”