THESE are the scenes that show Herefordshire's garden centres are getting back to business.

Bright spring sunshine brought shoppers out in significant numbers.

They were responding to the easing by the Government of restrictions that had been in force to control the spread of coronavirus.

At the Blue Diamond Hereford Garden Centre in Kings Acre Road, where these pictures were taken, the car park was busy, and shoppers inside were observing social distancing rules.

We are currently seeking comment from Blue Diamond managers.

RELATED NEWS: Wickes re-opens: Full list of DIY stores returning with strict new rules in place

Garden centres around the county have installed 2m markers and social distancing signs to help people stay safe.

Pengethley Garden Centre, near Ross-on-Wye, has re-opened, but is continuing its click-and-collect service for those who are reluctant to venture out.

Also now open are Radway Bridge (which will now close its telephone order collection service); Wellington Garden Centre (whose click-and-collect and home delivery service will continue, but may take longer), and Lyonshall Garden Centre (which as limited capacity for delivery but will continue to deliver to people self-isolating).

Cafes and toilets are closed, and all centres are asking customers to pay by card or contactless.

The Government's first measures to loosen the coronavirus lockdown largely come into effect from yesterday (Wednesday, May 13).

Following Boris Johnson's address to the nation on Sunday, a detailed document was published on Monday outlining some of the specific changes that were being introduced.

A summary of these measures from the Government that relate to just England rather than the whole UK are:

  • People are allowed to spend more time outdoors
  • They will be able to go to parks and beaches to sunbathe, have a picnic and go fishing
  • Outdoor sports courts can reopen, including tennis and basketball courts as well as golf courses
  • People will also be able to see one person from another household, as long as they follow social distance guidance
  • The change in policy follows scientific advice that the risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside, the government said. However, all of the new regulations are subject to social distancing rules.

From today, people in England can spend more time outdoors and enjoy a wider range of activities for any length of time, subject to social distancing rules.

People and their households can relax in the park, sunbathe, go for a picnic and go fishing.

They can also spend time with one member of another household, one-on-one, as long as they adhere to strict social distancing guidelines at all times, staying two metres apart.

Things you cannot do still according to the Government are:

  • Go on holiday
  • Visit and stay overnight at a holiday home or second home
  • Visit the homes of friends and family, unless it’s to help a vulnerable person, for medical reasons, or to take a child to another household with whom parental responsibilities are shared

Fines for people breaching the guidelines now face heightened fines.

They will now start at £100, lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days. Penalties will double on each further repeat offence up to £3,200.