04 May 2020
DIDCOT, UK: To support the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) campaign to reopen garden centres, a guidance document has been produced to ensure all garden centres open in a safe manner for staff and customers alike – should the Government formally announce a relaxation.
The document has been informed by leading HTA retailers, the British Retail Consortium, and the relevant government guidance as a recommendation of best practice regarding social distancing.
It includes guidance on products to be sold, customer numbers in stores, entrance and exit protocols and queueing and checkout procedures. The HTA has also produced accompanying signage that can be downloaded from their website to support the implementation of social distancing measures. These resources are available for HTA and non-members alike, given the importance of this issue to the country.
The HTA will be asking all their members to agree to adhere to the guidelines before they reopen. This sign up process will be managed via the plantsnearme.hta.org.uk website, with consumers able to see via the website which businesses are following the guidelines. We will be seeking support from government to encourage the wider industry to implement the same guidelines.
The document supports the work the HTA is doing with Government to ensure garden centres are reopened as part of the first relaxation of lockdown.
HTA Chairman, James Barnes, said, “The HTA has been highlighting the unique plight of the UK grower sector and the need for direct government assistance given the inapplicability of the current financial aid schemes. Opening garden centres will not only help open sales outlets but will assist the mental health and well-being of so many people isolating at home and the importance of having something to do at home keeps you at home. We are doing everything we can to enable garden centres to reopen safely and as soon as possible should the government alter the guidelines for our sector. This new guidance document is integral for all operators to get back to business as safely as they can and gives them the help they need to protect their staff and customers in these unsettling times.”
This document is available for all retail businesses to download here.