THE Gardens Group has announced plans to manage social distancing at its three garden centres in Sherborne, Poundbury and Yeovil, when the business reopens on Wednesday 13th May.
Among the measures to keep shoppers and staff safe are separate entrance and exit doors, one-way systems and a limit on the number of customers on site at any one time. There are screens by the tills; payment by card will be requested; general browsing will be discouraged, and gift items will not be available for the time being.
There is a drive-through compost shop for those who just need a few bags; customers who want to buy large items such as garden furniture will be asked to take the relevant barcodes to the till, and staff will arrange for free home delivery. There are maps of each garden centre.
The telephone order line with free delivery, which has been operating for six weeks, will be kept in place for vulnerable customers who remain at home. An email ordering service is also planned.
The Gardens Group managing director Mike Burks, who is chairman of the Garden Centre Association, says: “We know just how important gardening is to many across the region, especially at a time when other outdoor pursuits are so limited.
“We’ve done our utmost to continue serving customers during the lockdown and the team has gone above and beyond to execute our hastily expanded delivery service – something we introduced not because is was the easiest or most financially beneficial thing to do, but as we saw it as our social responsibility to support those looking to their gardens for solace and sanctuary.
“We’ll be taking a big step towards normality on Wednesday, as all three garden centres reopen, and we’re ready to do all we can to make this work for the good of both customers and staff. We’ve reinvented the business once in the last two months and I feel confident that we can do it again.”
Brimsmore Gardens in Yeovil, Castle Gardens in Sherborne and Poundbury Gardens in Dorchester will all reopen from Wednesday 13th May, with the reduced opening hours of 9am – 4pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am – 4:30pm on Sunday.