Garden centres open: Are garden centres open today?
Garden centres have closed for the duration of the UK coronavirus lockdown, as officials deemed the stores “non-essential”. Now the Government is toying with easing some of the restrictive measures imposed on the country.
Are garden centres open today?
As officials deemed garden centres non-essential, most stores had to close during the coronavirus lockdown.
Earlier this week, the Welsh government announced it would reopen garden centres as part of their plans to ease measures this week.
Welsh residents will be able to make use of the shops by Monday next week, while their strict lockdown conditions remain in place.
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Garden centres will remain shut in Wales and England until then, and Westminster will likely follow Wales’ example.
Leaks suggest Boris Johnson’s “unlockdown” plan – which he will reveal on Sunday, May 10 – will allow the shops to open once again from next Wednesday.
The Prime Minister is yet to confirm whether this is the case, however.
While moving to reopen the stores may seem odd to some, the industry is facing heavy losses due to its time-limited stock.
Conservative MP for Wrekin in Shropshire, Mark Pritchard, said garden centres are missing their most vital consumer window.
He said: “Decisions are time-sensitive; a lot of horticultural products, and therefore work and employment, is seasonal.
“A lot of customers purchase items around this period and then there’s the planting season.”
Garden centre owners have confirmed significant losses during the lockdown, with many losing millions.
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Brett Avery, managing director of West Sussex grower Far Plants told the Guardian his store had lost roughly £5million worth of stock due to the lockdown.
He said: “For us, the key three weekends in the season would be the Easter weekend, which we’ve missed, this bank holiday, which obviously we’ve missed, and then the end of May bank holiday weekend.
“If there is a relaxation and we can capitalise on that last bank holiday that would be fantastic.
“Even when they reopen we are probably looking at 50 percent of normal sales capacity [because of] the rules for people to get in and out.”
Tracey Crough, the former Minister for Loneliness, said she believed reopening centres would bring health benefits.
She said: “Gardening and wider horticulture is often used as a means of improving physical and mental well-being so it’s unsurprising that, with the right measures in place and good hygiene controls, many would like to see nurseries re-open soon.”
“It provides a small window of relief from all the bad news, which in itself is good for mental well-being.”
The move would also likely prove popular with Conservative voters, many of whom have gardens and live in rural constituencies.
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