This morning they were officially authorized to reopen the Garden Centers this morning, following a “modest” lifting of the blockade of the coronavirus pandemic by the Prime Minister of Wales.
Queues of people were spotted queuing outside the centers who chose to restart business after Mark Drakeford’s announcement on Friday, allowing them to reopen on Monday 11 May.
Among those who attracted multitudes of customers on the first day were the Caerphilly Garden Center and the Dobbies Garden Center in Bonymaen, Swansea.
In a statement, the Swansea store said that the safety of team members and customers remains its “number one priority”.
Social removal measures have been implemented to allow the store to operate safely, and there will be a limited number of customers allowed in the store at the same time, with people who are required to shop alone if possible.
A queuing system will be operating outside the store, with two meter markers in place to help keep social distances.
A client who showed up that day was Liz Thomas of Langland.
He said: “I am very happy that it has been reopened. I love gardening and I have collected a selection of perennials.
“I thought it was really well organized, the staff was very good and there were stickers everywhere that reminded you to stay two meters away.
“I thought it was really well organized and a really pleasant experience.”
Hand sanitizing and trolley cleaning stations will be available at the shop entrance and protective screens have been installed at the checkouts. Customers will be asked to pay by card or without contact, where possible.
Adequate PPE has been provided for team members, who will also receive regular training and briefings on how to keep themselves and customers safe., Says the company, adding rigorous daily hygiene routines will continue throughout the store.
While the restaurant and soft play will be temporarily closed, Dobbies will offer a takeaway menu that includes hot and cold drinks, soups, toasts, sandwiches and baked goods selected from Thursday 14 May.
Dobbies CEO Graeme Jenkins said: “We have taken care to follow the directions provided by the government, the British Retail Consortium and the Horticultural Trade Association to reopen responsibly.
“Our team is well prepared, social withdrawal measures are underway and we are looking forward to welcoming customers to our Swansea store.
“I would like to thank our team members and customers for their understanding during these uncertain times.”
Elsewhere, in Neath, Zoar’s Art Gift & Garden Center has reopened its doors and has set up a one-way system to protect customers and staff. Contactless collection and delivery options are still available.
In the meantime, the Caerphilly Garden Center in Penrhos, Nantgarw, is also back in business.
A statement on his website reads: “Here at the center of Caerphilly Garden we will implement new measures to ensure the safety of both our customers and staff.”
These include limiting customer numbers and queuing spaced out. Only two members of each family can enter the shop and children under 16 are asked to stay away.
Customers are encouraged to call ahead of time to verify that the desired items are available.
“It is important that customers have an idea of the products they wish to purchase before arrival, extended browsing within the store will maintain customer flow and mean that customers are here for much longer than they need to be,” the declaration continues.
Again, there is a social distance in the checkouts, as well as screens for the protection of staff and customers and, where possible, payments must be made by card.
Dutch Garden Center in Cardiff, however, has decided that it is not the time to reopen.
In a statement on his Facebook page, he wrote: “In light of the Welsh government’s announcement on the reopening of gardening centers, although this is good news, we will not open on Monday.
“We need to take steps to implement security measures to protect our customers and also ourselves.
“We will announce when we are planning to open next week. Wait for an opening date before visiting to avoid a wasted trip and also avoid blocking the road outside. Thank you for your support during this period. You have all been wonderful and not we look forward to welcoming you very soon. “