Please login to view the full page

Face coverings in garden centres 

Click to expand

HTA face coverings FAQs  

Who is responsible for enforcing the wearing of face coverings?  

  • Garden centres will be expected to encourage compliance with the law and can refuse entry.  

  • The liability for wearing a face covering lies with the individual. 

  • Should an individual without a legitimate exemption (list below) refuse to wear a face covering, a shop can refuse them entry and can call the police if people refuse to comply. 

  • Responsibility for enforcing the wearing of facecovrings lies with the police, who have the powers to enforce these measures, including in England through issuing a fines. 

  • We would recommend having an action plan in place for dealing with customers who refuse to wear a face covering and communicating this with staff.  

Do staff have to wear them? 

  • It is not compulsory for garden centre staff to wear face coverings in England, Soctland and Northern Ireland, although employers should consider recommending their use where appropriate and where other mitigations are not in place.  

  • Mitigations are working at 2m+ or if the staff member is behind a screen.  

  • However, in Wales staff do have to wear masks in any areas that are open to the public. 

Do masks have to be worn in our café or restaurant? 

If your garden center has an instore catering offering, then face coverings can be removed in that area only.  

Customers must put their face covering back on once they have left your seating area. 

Do customers have to wear a mask in outdoor plant areas? 

No, the rules only apply to enclosed indoor spaces.  

For more ambiguous areas, such as when an area is under a canopy, there is no fixed rule in these circumstances and you are advised to exercise your best judgement as to whether the space would be classified as enclosed.   

What are the exceptions to the new rules? 

Customers do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes: 

  • young children under the age of 11 in England and Wales or under 5 in Scotland. 

  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability. 

  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress 

  • if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate. 

  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others. 

  • to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you. 

  • to eat or drink, but only if they need to. 

  • to take medication. 

  • if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering. 

There are also scenarios when individuals are permitted to remove a face covering when asked: 

  • If asked to do so by shop staff for the purpose of age identification 

  • If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication 

Will this make things safer? 

  • The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75% higher among men, and 60% higher among women than in the general population in England, so the Government have brought in this additional measure to help reduce the risk for workers.  

  • Other safe trading protocols must continue to be observed such as handwashing and continuing to observe social distancing.  

What constitutes a face covering? 

  • The rules differ in each Nation. In Scotland for example visors are not an exeptable form of facecovering while in England they are. You are encouraged to read the full guidance and familiarise with the rules on what constitutes a face covering in your location. 



Northern Ireland: 


Member only citation support

With the public having been advised to wear them since mid-May on public transport, wearing a face covering in masks and shops will be mandatory from 24 July.

This free guide from HTA & APL partner, Citation, explores the implications and considerations of staff wearing facemasks in the workplace.


It offers expert guidance on how to decide what facemasks to use, whether you can make someone wear a facemask, how to make sure facemasks fit, plus other key questions employers should ask themselves.

Your HTA & APL member benefit – discounted support from Citation

Citation’s industry-leading experts are here to help take the headache out of keeping your business safe and dealing with your HR & Employment Law.

To discover how they can help your horticulture business, please click below to organise a free consultation.


Operating safely 

Click to expand

Safe Trading Guidance
The HTA have produce Safe Trading Guidance for garden centres which are available here. 

Guidance from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 

In England the Government have produced further guidance relevant for garden centres, landscapers working from people’s homes and on construction sites and nurseries (under ‘construction and other outside work’).  

The full guidance can be found here. 
5 key points 

This sets out practical steps for businesses focused on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical: 

1. Work from home, if you can 

All reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has not been told to close, our message is clear: you should go to work. Staff should speak to their employer about when their workplace will open. 

With more people now traveling to work with the re-opening of garden centres the Government have published guidance on safe traveling during coronavirus, which is available here.    

2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions 

This guidance operates within current health and safety employment and equalities legislation and employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and we expect all businesses with over 50 employees to do so. 

The Health and Safety Executive have published a guide to help businesses carry out a coronavirus workplace assessment.   

3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible 

Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms. 

4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk 

Employers should look into putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other. 

5. Reinforcing cleaning processes 

Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points. 

International Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Click to expand

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.

This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice.

Exemptions to the global advice against non-essential travel

On 4 July travel advice changed, with exemptions for travelling to certain countries and territories that no longer pose a high risk for British travellers. View the list of exempted destinations.  We continue to advise against non-essential international travel, except to countries and territories listed.

Plan for your travel: checklist

Developments in the coronavirus pandemic remain uncertain around the world. No travel is risk-free. If you are planning travel abroad in the weeks and months ahead, even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, follow this checklist: 

  • follow the current guidance in the place where you live. See the guidance for England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

  • keep up-to-date with the latest developments for your destination before and during your trip. Sign up for travel advice email alerts and check the TravelHealthPro website for travel health guidance 

  • read the safer air travel guidance on sensible precautions and steps to take during travel. Consider your own circumstances and health, and remember you will need to wear a face covering on flights in England and Scotland. See also the NaTHNaC guidance

  • find out about any entry restrictions, screening or quarantine requirements on arrival that might affect you. Check travel advice and contact the UK-based embassy of the country you’re travelling to if you need more information 

  • check with your accommodation provider for information about availability and the safety measures they have put in place 

  • read the advice of local authorities and follow all local health measures in place during your journey and in your destination. Local measures and travel restrictions may change before you arrive or during your stay. Check the travel advice page for your destination and check with your transport provider for more information 

  • get travel insurance, and make sure you are content with the level of cover it provides. If you already have travel insurance check it is valid and provides appropriate cover 

  • be prepared to comply with measures at your destination to manage a localised outbreak. If you test positive for coronavirus you are likely to need to get treatment locally and stay there until you have recovered.  If you are required to quarantine or self-isolate by local authorities, you should expect to do so in the country. You may need to stay longer. Plan ahead for any delays to your return home and the financial implications or practical arrangements you may need to make 

  • check your cancellation rights. Speak to your tour operator, transport and accommodation providers if you have any questions 

  • when you return, you will need to follow the rules for entering the UK. You must: 

How do you manage travel-related quarantine?

In June, a two-week quarantine was brought in for most people entering the UK from overseas.

Though many countries have since been exempted from the rules because of their lower coronavirus rates, quarantine restrictions have been reapplied to several countries including Spain, France, Netherlands, Malta, Luxembourg, Belgium, Andorra, Bahamas, Monaco, Turks & Caicos, and Aruba.

As the list of countries is regularly reviewed based on coronavirus rates, this will naturally have an impact on employers who will now have to carefully manage the self-isolation period for any employees they have coming back from travel to those countries.

The experts of our partner, Citation, have put together the key considerations every employer needs to make when it comes to travel-related quarantine in their business.


The guide answers the following questions:

  • What is the position on foreign travel?
  • What do employees get paid during this period of self-isolation?
  • Can I force an employee to take this self-isolation period as holiday?
  • Can I cancel my employee’s holiday?
  • How can I manage this within my business?

Got any questions or want to find out more about your member benefit?

Call 0345 844 1111 to speak to a friendly Citation advisor.

Citation offers HTA members preferential rates on their support services; simply quote ‘HTA’ to access your member benefit when enquiring.

Data protection

The ICO has published guidance on data protection during the pandemic. This will also be relevant to the implementation of Track and Trace systems. More information on how this affects your business can be found here.