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Safety first will be our mantra, says garden centre owner

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Welcome news: Robin Mercer

Welcome news: Robin Mercer

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Welcome news: Robin Mercer

The owner of three garden centres has welcomed the Executive's announcement that they can open from Monday.

Robin Mercer said his company would have social distancing and other measures in place. He owns Hillmount, which operates garden centres in Ards, Bangor and Belfast.

"We have been working hard to ensure that we have installed all the necessary signage and screens to make reopening safe," he said.

"We have issued our staff with protective equipment and hand sanitisers have been placed throughout the stores for our customers' convenience.

"This announcement makes perfect sense as gardening aids physical and mental health."

Mr Mercer said Hillmount had "thousands of plants with a short shelf life".

He expects his garden centres to be very busy, but appealed to customers to be "sensible" in planning their visit and not "cause any undue risk to our staff or our neighbours by people forming long queues of traffic outside our stores".

He added: "We must approach our reopening with caution as we consider that people are still dying every day from this virus. We will be making sure everyone's health and safety is the priority."

Belfast Telegraph