The Scottish Government has announced today that garden centres will be allowed to re-open tomorrow (Friday 29 May) as part of Phase 1 of its strategy for exiting lockdown.

Scotland is one of the last countries in Europe to re-open its garden centres. Garden centres in Wales and England re-opened more than two weeks ago, while garden centres in Northern Ireland were able to re-open last week.

The Horticultural Trade Association (HTA) has produced Safe Trading Guidance, which covers all aspects of how garden centres can re-open while ensuring staff and customer safety at all times.

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) Chairman, James Barnes, said:

“It is welcome news that garden centres in Scotland will now be able to re-open tomorrow as part of the first phase of relaxing lockdown. However, the delay in re-opening has meant that the Scottish horticulture industry is at a significant disadvantage to the rest of the UK, having lost a crucial trading period at a daily cost of £1 million.

“This has severely impacted growers and increases the need for the Scottish Government to bring forward a Dutch-style grant aid scheme for plant nurseries as soon as possible. We have raised this with the Scottish Government and will be following up with them on the immediacy of the issue for our members. 

“Our priority now is to work with Scottish garden centres to help them re-open in a safe and managed way, as they have done throughout the rest of the UK following the Safe Trading Guidance.”

Safe Trading Guidance

The HTA has produced a  Safe Trading Guidance which includes a series of recommendations to protect customers.

The guidance document has been based on insight from leading HTA retailers, the British Retail Consortium, and from government advice as a recommendation of best practice regarding social distancing. Cafes, restaurants and children’s play areas will not be allowed to reopen under the guidelines.

Recommendations include advice on customer numbers in stores, entrance and exit protocols, and queueing and checkout procedures. It also contains practical advice on how to protect the health and wellbeing of staff. 

What customers can expect

  • controlled access to car parks
  • limits on customer numbers in store – the recommendation is 1 per 1000 square foot
  • customers will be asked to shop with a maximum of one other person if possible and will be required to keep 2m distancing throughout the store and whilst queueing.
  • cafes, restaurants and children’s play areas will not be allowed to reopen under the guidelines.

The HTA recently launched a website - plantsnearme.hta.org.uk - to help customers find local garden centres that are offering home delivery or click and collect services. Members of the public will now be able to use the website to see which businesses have reopened and are following the Safe Trading Guidance. 

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