“We welcome the news that garden centres will be allowed to open from Wednesday in England. This is a hugely positive economic move and hopefully this will be confirmed tomorrow night by the Prime Minister. Based on the specific comments we have seen from government sources, it is good to see that they have recognised that the physical layout of many garden centres with large open air spaces make them suitable for early re-opening. This is something we have highlighted many times to government at all levels since the start of lockdown.
“As this is the peak of the garden industry season - 70% of plants are sold between March and June - opening garden centres now will be welcomed by the 23m gardeners in this country and the UK garden industry. We hope the news of reopening from Monday in Wales and Wednesday in England is a sign to come for the rest of the UK. We are seeking clarification from the Scottish Government.
“The 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. While many are ready to open and have been working hard to put in place the necessary measures, our priority over the coming days will be to provide help to those that need further support. This is to ensure that we can get as many businesses back up and running but only when they can open safely.
“Although opening gardening centres is hugely welcomed across the horticulture supply chain, this isn’t the single answer for the £1.5bn British nursery market, who have already had to dispose of hundreds of tonnes of plants. The only way to rescue the British nurseries sector is for the UK Government to introduce a Dutch-style stock compensation scheme.”