Commenting on the Prime Minister’s announcement on new restrictions in the light of a continuing rise in Coronavirus cases, James Clark, director of Policy and Communications at the HTA said: “Garden centres have risen to the challenge of providing safe environments and processes to protect their staff and customers.
“Just as many are fully reopening their hospitality offering these further restrictions – designed for those operating in the night-time economy – could present real difficulties for the industry.
“We are concerned that garden centres have to be compliant in two days’ time, giving members very little notice to make the necessary changes. The introduction of table service could be onerous, expensive and we believe unnecessary. Issues such as whether payments must be taken at the table needs urgent clarity.
“Given that garden centres are large spaces, with outdoor areas we need to know whether the new requirement to wear face coverings in hospitality and retail areas is necessary for garden centres and how to best protect staff who are unable to wear one. We have raised these concerns directly with government officials and are working alongside other trade associations to press for these issues to be covered in forthcoming guidance. “
“We have constructively engaged Government since the easing of restrictions in May about why garden centres should be able to continue to operate in the event of a second COVID lockdown. We are updating the evidence we present to Government on why garden centres should stay open, including cafes.”