Britain

Garden centres to reopen as first steps to ease lockdown revealed

Garden centres in England will be allowed to open from Wednesday as part of first-step measures to gradually ease the coronavirus-related lockdown.

The prime minister will announce on Sunday that garden centres will be allowed to open their doors to customers from 13 May.

Bosses will have to make sure visitors stick to strict social distancing measures, such as keeping two metres away from others, and will be expected to put restrictions in place to control shop numbers in a similar way to supermarkets.

UK supermarkets have introduced queuing systems and one-way aisles to limit the interaction customers and staff have with one another, while also creating cleaning stations where trolley and basket handles can be disinfected.

The confirmation follows the announcement by the Welsh government that garden centres will be able to open from Monday.

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First Minister Mark Drakeford, speaking at a briefing in Cardiff on Friday, said: "Our second planned change to the regulations is to allow garden centres to reopen, provided the social distancing rules can be applied."

The Welsh Labour leader also said councils could plan to reopen recycling centres – a measure already recommended to English local authorities by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick.

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Boris Johnson will formally make the announcement about garden centres during his Sunday evening address to the nation.

Environment Secretary George Eustice used his appearance at the Downing Street daily briefing to dampen expectations about a wholesale lifting of lockdown restrictions by the prime minister, stating that there "isn't going to be any dramatic overnight change".

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