Huge queues at garden centres as they reopen in England amid coronavirus lockdown

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Green-fingered Brits descended on garden centres on Wednesday as many reopened for the first time in nearly two months.

While most businesses and venues are to remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, garden centres in England and Wales are being allowed to open their doors.

They are among a list of locations and businesses – like parks, supermarkets, hardware stores and post offices – which are being encouraged to open amid easing lockdown restrictions.

Guidance over the two-metre social distancing rule remains in place.

Queues outside Longacre Garden Centre in Bagshot (Getty Images)

On Wednesday morning, queues were seen outside garden centres across the country.

Customers faced access controls in car parks, restrictions on how many people will be allowed in stores, and keeping the correct distance from other shoppers.

Cafes, restaurants and children’s play areas at the centres remain shut.

Garden centres in Wales have been open since Monday (PA)

Garden centres in Wales were allowed to open from Monday, while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland’s guidelines on the reopening of garden centres will be considered in the coming days.

The move to reopen garden centres this week have been welcomed by the horticulture industry.

The move to reopen garden centres has been welcomed (PA)

Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) chairman James Barnes described the reopening of garden centres in England as “a positive economic move”, which would be applauded by millions of gardeners and the industry.

“This is not only a positive economic move but gardening benefits the mental health and wellbeing of so many people isolating at home and the importance of having something to do at home keeps you at home,” he said.

Members of the public queue outside the Capital Gardens’ Sherfield on Loddon Garden Centre near Basingstoke (Getty Images)

TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh said “it is up to us all now to make the supply chain work safely” because “gardens enhance our lives”.

He said the challenge for garden centre managers will be to ensure that customers have “as pleasant an experience as possible without compromising their wellbeing”.

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He added: “With joint determination to make this work – and that will involve patience and cooperation on both sides of the till – we can rescue a situation and avert what seemed, a few weeks ago, like total disaster.

“Gardens enhance our lives, and now we have a chance to support and encourage those who grow the plants that fill them.”

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