While the top priority of our sector in the covid-19 situation is to continue providing safe and sustainable growing media to the food producing sector, GME members also urges national authorities in the Member States to not close their gardening centres and garden retail shops. Several countries have already shut down these stores as they are usually considered as non-food retail. During the current phase of confinement and social distancing in most European countries however, gardening is a healthy way to increase the mental well-being of citizens without risking a further spreading of the virus.
We therefore request for gardening retailers to be allowed to stay open throughout Europe. In order to prevent customers and staff from catching or spreading the virus, we advise to introduce obligatory hygiene and security measures in all retail sectors that are open for business.