The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has issued a statement supporting the need for social distancing measures when garden centres reopen:

HTA Chairman, James Barnes, said:

“We have clearly welcomed the Governments decision to allow garden centres to open in the first move to relax some of the current COVID-19 guidelines. I would like to thank all those across the industry who I know have striven night and day to put the case for this to happen.

“With this early decision comes a significant responsibility for this sector of retail to be a showpiece for safe trading and the implementation of social distancing protocols.

“Yesterday the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy published its safety guidelines and these are now available on websites.

“We have updated our protocols where appropriate.

“I am aware that many businesses have put a huge effort into achieving, and in some cases going above and beyond, these asks. And for bringing their staff with them on the journey. Today will be both an exciting and anxious day for many.

“I would just like to emphasise that it is everyone’s duty as a leader in this industry to ensure that your business does comply with all the essential elements of these guidelines and to resist opening your centre until you are confident that these have been achieved.

“There will be a requirement by government to publish your risk assessment around this.”

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