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Retailers unhappy

More frustration as garden centres ordered to close

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Garden centres will be force to close

Scottish retail leaders have expressed frustration that garden centres are once again being forced to close under new Covid restrictions.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that homeware retailers will also be removed from the list of essential retailers and will be restricted to click and collect from Boxing Day.

It follows Saturday’s announcement about mainland Scotland entering Level 4 lockdown of the Covid Strategic Framework.

Garden centres were permitted to reopen at the end of May, the first sub-sector of retail to be allowed to re-open following the introduction of the national lockdown in late March.

The Scottish Retail Consortium has consistently argued that shops have taken every mitigation possible to keep customers and staff as safe as possible.

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Recent papers from public health adviser SAGE and its Welsh counterpart, the Technical Advisory Group, have explained the closure of shops would only have a “very minimal impact” on R values and reducing transmission of the virus.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “We recognise the situation with the pandemic is fast moving and are behind efforts to get on top of the virus, however this is yet further disappointing and dispiriting news for Scotland’s retail industry.

David Lonsdale

David Lonsdale: closing shops has a minimal impact’ (pic: Terry Murden)

“We fully appreciate this announcement is about government wanting people to stay home.

“However it is frustrating when the evidence suggests closing shops has a minimal impact on the spread of the virus and after retailers have demonstrated they can operate safely in the current environment, and invested significantly to make stores Covid-secure for customers and staff.

“It’s doubly frustrating to learn of further chopping and changing to the Covid framework, and at painfully short notice, when retailers have spent months pleading for greater visibility over potential next steps and a more consistent approach.”

Seasonal workers relief

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has welcomed the decision by the UK government to allow 30,000 seasonal agricultural workers into the UK next year.

The government had intended to limit numbers to 10,000 following the end of freedom of movement.

However, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross lobbied for the higher number which has now been agreed.

“It’s welcome this has now been agreed and shows a willingness to address specific needs for different sectors across the UK,” he said.



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