Reacting to the news that the Northern Ireland Executive has decided to allow garden centres to operate click and collect from 1 April, James Barnes, Chairman of the Horticultural Trades Association said:
“This offers some relief for Northern Ireland garden centres, allowing them some ability to trade in time for Easter, but is too little, too late. It doesn’t go far enough for many horticultural businesses who still have no clear idea have as to how much more of this key trading season will be curtailed by such severe restrictions.
“Click and collect and home deliveries make up only 15-20 per cent of usual sales due to the limitations of delivering live perishable plants of all shapes and sizes, and the IT and infrastructure needed to operate click and collect.
“Garden centres offer naturally airy and spacious environments which are enhanced by our Safe Trading Protocols and the evidence that plants, gardening and nature offer a wealth of health and wellbeing benefits is well documented. We call on Ministers to enable horticulture to play its part in supporting the nation as we approach the anniversary of a year in lockdown, providing a safe and healthy activity that keeps people at home.”