RHS closes down Harlow Carr after accepting it was difficult to meet Government social distancing guidelines
RHS Harlow Carr has been closed until further notice as part of the national shutdown of businesses within the hospitality sector.
A statement was released on Sunday to confirm that all aspects of the site, including gardens, shops and cafes, will be shut with immediate effect after noticing increased numbers on the Saturday were potentially putting the public at risk.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that he was calling for a lockdown of all pubs, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs. Now it seems other sites are following suit, with the Royal Horticultural Society announcing all of its premises (RHS Garden Wisley, RHS Garden Hyde Hall, RHS Garden Rosemoor and RHS Harlow Carr) would close down.
The statement reads: "After careful consideration, it is with great regret that the RHS has taken the sad decision to close our four RHS Gardens from today, Sunday 22 March.
"RHS Garden Wisley, RHS Garden Hyde Hall, RHS Garden Rosemoor and RHS Harlow Carr, including our shops and cafes, will therefore close with immediate effect until further notice. Our online plant shop, rhsplants.co.uk continues to offer a wide selection of edible and ornamental plants.
"Our utmost responsibility and concern is for the health and safety of our staff, members, visitors and volunteers. Saturday was a very busy day at our gardens, and we felt we were no longer able to guarantee the Government’s requirement for social distancing.
"We are sorry for the disappointment this will cause all our valued members and visitors but we will re-open to visitors as soon as Government advice allows, and when we feel it is safe to do so."
A team of RHS advisors will, however, continue to work from home and offer guidance and support on any gardening issues that some people might have.
"Our increased number of RHS advisors are working from home and will continue to answer all RHS member gardening questions, and The Garden magazine will continue to be published," the statement added.
"As so many of us will be spending more time at home gardening, we hope these valuable services will be of benefit to our members. We will also be sharing pictures and films of our gardens online and on social media so that everyone can stay connected and enjoy the beauty of nature and our gardens from afar.
"A reduced level of staff from our horticulture teams will continue to look after our living collections of world class plants within our gardens."