April 18th 2020
Dr. Heather Barrett-Mold OBE, Master of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners has written to the Rt. Hon. George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs requesting that the UK’s nurseries and garden centres should reopen as soon as possible.
The Master rallies in support of the entire horticultural industry asking for nurseries and garden centres to be deemed ‘essential businesses’. This would allow the supply chain to continue and mitigate some of devastating affects already caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter also mentions six suggested next steps as part of a ‘controlled and measured reopening’:
1. Nurseries and Garden Centres are mostly outside and could be managed following the model used by supermarkets.
2. Indoor areas could be tightly controlled.
3. Restaurants and cafes would remain closed.
4. Play areas would remain closed.
5. Every effort must be made to keep parks and gardens open. The message about exercise and safe distancing should be repeated.
6. The ban on eating and drinking in groups should be constantly repeated.
The Master said: “This is the busiest time of year for the industry and a time when the impact of plants and open spaces can play a major part in maintaining the population’s wellbeing, protecting the environment and safeguarding livelihoods.”