NFU gains clarity on farm retail businesses required to close over November lockdown

Since the month-long national lockdown came into force across England on 5 November, the NFU has been seeking clarity from government on the range of different business types that are able to remain open during this time, and those that are required to close.

We have since had confirmation from Defra that:

  • Farm shops (or similar retail) that sell food, agricultural supplies, or other essential retail are not required to close during the November restrictions and can continue to sell the range of products that they provide to the public.
  • Farm shops (or similar retail) that do not provide essential retail are required to close to the public during the November restrictions, except for click and collect and delivery services. This includes florists and nurseries.
  • New, separate regulations have been confirmed for Christmas tree farms and sales over lockdown. Click here for more information on this.

Defra has further clarified that farms, as well as any other attraction where animals are exhibited to the public, are required to close to the public. Autumnal pick your own enterprises and farm tours must, therefore, not go ahead during this time. Where these farms provide goods that are not essential retail, they can continue to do so through click and collect and delivery services.

NFU horticulture adviser Allie Hesketh said:

“This news will no doubt be devastating for some farmers and growers across the country, and we will continue to highlight to government the major impacts COVID-19 is having on our industry and raising members’ concerns.
"We are monitoring the current situation closely and remain very live to the fact that these restrictions could have major repercussions for businesses affected.
"We encourage any growers who are suffering as a result of these restrictions to contact our CallFirst service on 0370 845 8458 for help and advice on business support available at this difficult time."

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