Can garden centres open in lockdown?

Michael Gove fails to confirm when UK lockdown will end

Garden centres and thousands of other businesses across England are now subject to official advice after a third national coronavirus lockdown was implemented across England. People are only permitted to leave their home for certain reasons, such as medical appointments, exercise and essential food shopping. But are garden centres open under the new national lockdown rules in England?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a third national lockdown on Monday.

English residents will now no longer be permitted to leave their homes unless they have an essential reason to do so.

The lockdown came after a further 58,784 coronavirus cases were confirmed, the highest for the past seven days – all of which have surpassed 50,000.

The rapid increase in new cases has been attributed to the new Covid variant which is highly transmissible and spreading quickly around the country.

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Mr Johnson said tougher measures were needed while the country continues its rollout of the mass vaccination programme.

He said: “I want to say to everyone right across the United Kingdom that I know how tough this is, I know how frustrated you are, I know that you have had more than enough of Government guidance about defeating this virus.

“But now more than ever, we must pull together.

“You should follow the new rules from now, and they will become law in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Parliament will meet – largely remotely – later that day.”

Mr Johnson added: “The weeks ahead will be the hardest yet but I really do believe that we are entering the last phase of the struggle.

“Because with every jab that goes into our arms, we are tilting the odds against Covid and in favour of the British people.

“And, thanks to the miracle of science, not only is the end in sight and we know exactly how we will get there.

“But for now, I am afraid, you must once again stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

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Can garden centres open in lockdown?

Garden centres are included in the list of essential businesses which are permitted to remain open during the third national lockdown in England.

Other businesses permitted to remain open include:

  • Essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences.
  • Market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open.
  • Businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services.
  • Petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses.
  • Banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses.
  • Funeral directors.
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners.
  • Medical and dental services.
  • Vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals.
  • Animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes).
  • Agricultural supplies shops.
  • Mobility and disability support shops.
  • Storage and distribution facilities.
  • Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas.
  • Outdoor playgrounds.
  • Outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise.
  • Places of worship.
  • Crematoriums and burial grounds.

Specifically, garden centres, agricultural supplies shops and natural Christmas tree retailers are permitted to open.

However, florists and nurseries are not allowed to stay open.

Where an essential business such as a garden centre has another business inside, the separate business embedded within it that is required to close, the embedded business must close.

For example, a bookstore inside a garden centre must close.

How can garden centres remain Covid-secure?

The Government has provided extensive advice regarding how businesses can remain Covid-safe and secure.

Most garden centres are advised to adopt the following measures to protect customers, staff and their families:

  • Social distancing must be observed.
  • Customer numbers are limited in stores.
  • Entrance and exit protocols are implemented.
  • Face masks must be worn at all times.
  • Sanitiser stations will be placed at entrance points and throughout centres.
  • Contactless payment is encouraged.
  • One-way systems are encouraged
  • Staff should wear PPE.
  • All shared surfaces should be regularly cleaned.

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