AROUND 44million Brits have been plunged into tough Tier 4 restrictions recently – but what does it mean for garden centres?
Under the tough new rules, those in the highest risk areas are essentially living in full lockdown with all non-essential retailers forced to shut.
Restaurants and pubs are also only able to operate for takeaway or home delivery only.
As of today, 78% of people in England have been placed in Tier 4, while the rest of England is in Tier 3.
The Isles of Scilly is the only part of the country in Tier 1, while no areas are currently in Tier 2.
Remember though, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own local lockdown rules so it’s worth checking local rules before heading out.
Here’s what the new rules mean for garden centres in Tier 4 in England:
Are garden centres open in Tier 4?
Yes, garden centres are allowed to stay open in Tier 4 areas of England as they are considered to be providing essential goods and services.
Naturally, they’re also open in Tier 1, 2 and 3 as well.
In contrast, many gardening shops were forced to close during the first national lockdown earlier this spring.
Full list of areas in Tier 4
HERE is the full list of areas in Tier 4.
- Derby and Derbyshire
- Leicester City and Leicestershire
- Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
East of England
- Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes
- Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock
All 32 London boroughs plus City of London
- North East (this area includes the local authorities of County Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland)
- North of Tyne (this area includes the local authorities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland)
- Tees Valley (this area includes the local authorities of Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, and Stockton-on-Tees)
- Greater Manchester
- Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen, and Blackpool
- Warrington and Cheshire Region
- Brighton and Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex
- Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth
- Isle of Wight
- Kent and Medway
- Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
- Gloucestershire (Cheltenham, Cotswold, Forest of Dean, Gloucester City, Stroud and Tewkesbury)
- Somerset (Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton, and South Somerset)
- Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton
- Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
In March, Dobbies was also slammed for staying open as they classed some of their products as essential.
But in a boost for green-fingered Brits, garden centres then reopened in May ahead of other retailers.
It came after The Sun’s gardening expert Peter Seabrook pleaded with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to open garden centres and retail nurseries.
During the second national shutdown in November, garden centres were allowed to stay open.
What do I need to know before shopping at a garden centre
If you’re keen to visit a garden centre in a Tier 4 area, keep in mind some may be operating shorter opening hours.
To avoid a wasted trip, simply check the retailer’s website to find out when your local branch will be open.
Be aware opening hours will also be affected by the New Year bank holiday.
Garden centres, like many other facilities, have to adopt social distancing measures to keep customers and staff safe.
Thanks to their big open air spaces, people are expected to be able to maintain distancing rules.
But retailers must have Perspex screens around tills and face masks must be worn at all times, by staff and customers, when on premises.
If you don’t want to shop in store, online shoppers can also still order for home delivery or click and collect, depending on the retailer.
Dobbies, for example, is still offering online delivery but it warns that delivery times may delayed as staff adapt to new ways of working in order to stay safe.
We explain whether DIY stores are open in Tier 4 – and the opening times of B&Q, Homebase and Wickes.