Kieran Gallagher, director at Cardwell Garden Centre, near Gourock said: “Prior to the recent lockdown, garden centres in Scotland like Cardwell had essential retail status, which was a correct assessment of the important service we provide the public.
“We would urge the Government to again designate garden centres as essential retail when they look at expanding the list of essential retailers in early April.
“Spring is the start of the growing season for gardeners and when they most need to buy their plants and their gardening equipment for the new season.
“We have been busy preparing for re-opening and welcoming customers back to Cardwell.
“We have been running an online store with home delivery and very soon we plan to also have a click and collect service.
“There is real and proven physical and psychological benefits of gardening, as getting outdoors to a safe place is important to people’s health and well-being. For many people, particularly those who are shielding, a garden is the only outside space that is available to them.
“Spring is also the start of our busiest trading period of the year. So, it’s important for both the people who enjoy gardening and the sustainability of Cardwell that garden centres like ours can open as soon as possible.
“Gardeners like to see and pick their own plants and people can safely do that at Cardwell as we have plenty open spaces and have all the anti-COVID regimes – like one-way routes around the centre, hand sanitisers, staff with masks and enhanced cleaning – in place.”