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4 Jan 2021,  George Bullivant

English GC’s permitted to open during 3rd lockdown

After the PM announced a third Coronavirus lockdown in England, Government guidance confirms garden centres, suppliers of building products and off-licences can remain open.

8 Jan 2021,  Garden retail consultant
I think that garden centres provide an environment which tends to be safer than most other retail. There is more space, large outdoor areas, wider aisles etc. The centres I've seen have also gone to great lengths to ensure good social distancing, restricted numbers, providing sanitizer for hands as well as operating one way routes. They are also providing a lot of genuinely essential items, many provide a great local source of meat, dairy and vegetables in an en environment that certainly feels much safer than the local supermarket. I agree that the customers have to use them responsibly and I support those centres who are encouraging people to shop alone, definitely not bringing the children for a trip out! And for those shoppers who really don't feel safe inside, most centres will do online, delivery or click and collect.
7 Jan 2021,  Les
I am a supporter of independent shops and (Real) garden nurseries. please tell me why you are allowed to sell non essential goods such as scented candles, cut flowers, greeting cards, giftware etc, when independent florists, gift shops can not. thank you
6 Jan 2021,  nurseryman
I do feel for the staff at garden centres but on the other hand I'd imagine staff at the supermarkets are at greater risk. Footfall in a garden centre is very low in January anyway and this lockdown has resulted in fewer customers. Garden centres tend to be large airy buildings and social distancing and PPE should be effective. Bear in mind how hard hit some seasonal suppliers to garden centres were hit in the first lockdown often losing the best two months of a years trade. Many plant suppliers to garden are small family businesses that simply cannot afford more waste. Staff on the nurseries have to work now otherwise there will be no plants for the garden centres to sell in April and May. Retail is on it's knees, its a balancing act between jobs and livelihoods being on the line and trying to keep safe.
5 Jan 2021,  Garden centre assistant
Although I am grateful to have a job I can’t help but feel that staff members and customers safety is NOT being prioritised now. We are selling furniture, bbqs, Christmas decs, candles, toys, cards, pictures the list of non-essential items goes on. I feel for smaller businesses who sell the same products and are not allowed to open. The customers who have been coming in have been extremely rude, if they are asked or reminded to abide by rules they start to get aggressive and shout abuse at the staff, some cashiers have been extremely upset from abusive customers and shop floor staff constantly having to remind customers to ‘stand back’. I can understand gardening being essential for mental health, but so could we class, art shops, paint shops, craft shops, baby clothing shops, the list goes on. I feel that everything sold is “luxury” as having a garden is in fact a luxury some do not have. Our safety is unfortunately not being put first here, profits are. I worry to catch this virus at work and spread it to my parents whom I love with when every other retail remains safely closed.
4 Jan 2021,  Scared
I work in a garden centre in a clothing department, I was working throughout the 2nd lockdown & it looks like I will be yet again. I'm extremely nervous, during the 2nd lockdown customers were rude, sometimes aggressive & definitely didn't follow the 2 metre ruling, some didn't even wear masks. I wish that GCs would close in this 3rd lockdown - I just want to be safe.
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