Scotland

Coronavirus: Green light for flower growers to resume operating

Daffodils growing Image copyright Getty Images

Horticulture businesses have been given the go-ahead by the Scottish government to resume operations, so long as workers stick strictly to public health rules on social distancing.

The advice comes from Rural Affairs Secretary Fergus Ewing in response to lobbying from a Conservative MSP.

The clarification means that, for example, growers of daffodils can harvest them for sale in shops.

One garden centre owner said the decision was "sensible" and "workable."

Tory MSP Rachael Hamilton, the shadow rural economy secretary, raised the issue after the police visited a horticulture business and ordered it to shut down.

But in a letter to Ms Hamilton, Fergus Ewing said operations could "continue" provided businesses protect the safety and welfare of their staff, keep up-to-date with the latest guidance and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Ms Hamilton said she was "extremely grateful and pleased" the Scottish government acted "so quickly and confirmed that horticultural businesses can stay open at this time".

She warned that horticultural businesses are "often associated with farming businesses" and that without them it could "undermine" the country's "ability to provide food for Scottish people in the coming months".

Measures are 'sensible and workable'

Broughty Ferry garden centre owner Ross Turriff said the decision was "sensible and should be workable."

He said: "Although flowers are non-essential just now and there are very few small florists open to retail them, the supermarkets are busy and would have a market for them.

"It's not really an industry that can switch to something that would help on the front line, PPE manufacture for instance.

"So, if this saves a few jobs and gives growers enough to keep them ticking over and save from going bust then, if done safely, sounds reasonable."

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