Speaking today after the Welsh government’s decision to implement a ‘fire-break lockdown’ requiring all ‘non-food’ retail to close commencing Friday 23 October, James Clark, HTA Director of Policy and Communications, said:
“Like the rest of British business and society, our Welsh members are keen to see an end to this pandemic and the huge strain it is taking upon the nation’s health, welfare and economic future. However, we are extremely disappointed that the Welsh Government have taken Wales back six months to the March-style full lockdown. We made the case that garden centres should be exempt from this category, like others who sell similar products. There is no evidence that shows why garden centres should be forced to close.
“Garden centres offer large, open spaces with outdoor areas, implementing considerable social distancing measures. Gardening provides people with a safe activity they can do from home during the ‘fire break’ period.
“With 60% of plants and bulbs produced in the UK sold in garden centres this is devastating news – the whole industry faces the knock-on impact.
“It is unclear whether garden centres are allowed to operate click and collect and home delivery and so we are urgently requesting clarity on the matter.
“The offer for business support does not provide much reassurance for our members and we will be lobbying for a better deal which is immediately available and easy to apply for.”