Are garden centres open in second lockdown?

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new lockdown measures this weekend as he warned it was necessary to prevent a “medical and moral disaster” for the NHS. The Prime Minister warned Christmas would be “very different” this year but hoped taking action now would mean families can still spend time together over the festive period. Pubs, restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops will be forced to close their doors, but unlike the earlier lockdown in March, schools, colleges and universities can remain open.

Are garden centres open in the second lockdown?

From Thursday, November 5, many businesses will have to close again for lockdown.

While there were no restrictions on retail businesses opening in the tier system in place before, Mr Johnson said more stringent measures were needed in response to the virus.

At first it wasn’t clear whether the closures would include garden centres, which were closed during the strictest part of the first lockdown.

But fortunately, the new rules allow garden centres to stay open.

It was clarified this week garden centres can remain open and will not be restricted in the way they were before.

The news undoubtedly comes as a boost for the industry after retailers missed the peak of sales during the spring.

The Government’s official guidance, published on October 31, also confirms the good news.

The guidance reads: “Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open.

“Essential retail should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.”

Botanical gardens have been listed under “businesses and venues to close”.

But, the Government guidance does allow you to “visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, or your support bubble, or one person from another household”.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has issued a statement intending to keep its garden centres open “to ensure that people can continue to garden and grow plants, indoors and outdoors”.

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The gardening charity said it is now awaiting further guidance from the Government in relation to its four gardens.

An updated statement from the RHS said: “The RHS is monitoring the situation closely and we are awaiting the publication of the regulations to further understand the impact of this announcement on our four RHS gardens.

“We hope very much that our gardens, which are a vital safe sanctuary for the mental and physical health of the members of public who visit them, will remain open and that we can still run Glow.

“We will be working closely with our partners in the sector to ensure that the RHS can continue to offer the opportunity to walk and enjoy fresh air in our gardens.

“We would ensure that we have additional safety measures including social distancing, enhanced cleaning and limits on visitor volumes in place.”

The Horticultural Trade Association (HTA) said the coronavirus outbreak could cost the UK’s gardening industry a staggering £200million as thousands of plants grown for summer had to be binned.

About 650 businesses faced a complete loss of income, while others were unable to take on the debt of a Government loan.

The RHS, which is expecting losses of up to £18million this year, highlighted the importance of Government help.

It warned: “If steps are not taken to support the growers underpin one of Britain’s favourite past times and a £24.2billion industry, then many of these businesses will cease to exist, and vital growing skills will be lost to the country.”

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