After seven weeks of physically closure, garden centres in the United Kingdom are open again. The UK industry and supply chain is very pleased, but needs more support from the British government.
The government has updated the coronavirus guidance. Pubs, restaurants and other places where many people come together will remain closed for the time being, but garden centres are allowed to open their physical stores again (until now only e-commerce and click & collect was allowed). Garden centres in Wales and England have opened again, in Scotland not yet.
Garden centres and visitors must follow safety rules. Previously, the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has drawn up a protocol for this. A maximum of two people per household is allowed to enter the garden centre, and they must maintain 2 metres social distance (in accordance with UK social distance in public; in other countries like the Netherlands it’s 1,5 metres).
The HTA welcomes the re-opening, as in the UK 70% of plants are usually sold between March and June. Last month the HTA sounded the alarm in London because British companies are in danger of going bankrupt. To prevent this, the British government must step forward with an emergency fund that, according to the HTA, is comparable to financial support offered by the Dutch government.
UK garden centres were physically closed for seven weeks. They managed to sell plants online, but not everyone was ready for e-commerce and faced logistical problems with click & collect, according to insiders.