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Ontario allows alternative methods of sale for garden centres

April 21, 2020  By Greta Chiu

Are garden centres deemed essential in Ontario? The province provided an answer this week that says businesses offering plants are essential, however, only alternative methods of sale are allowed at this point.

“Businesses that sell hardware products or that produce food, beverages and agricultural products including plants also are included in the list of essential businesses. They are permitted to sell garden products including flowers, plants and other garden supplies to the public but only through an alternative method of sale such as curbside pick-up or delivery,” says a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) in an email.

Meanwhile, other businesses primarily offering food and other household products are open to the public and able to sell garden products while adhering to public health measures. “Businesses that primarily sell food, beverages and consumer products necessary to maintain households and businesses – including supermarkets, grocery stores and discount and big box retailers selling groceries – are included in the list of essential businesses. They may also sell garden products including flowers, plants and other garden supplies.”


Acting on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, OMAFRA says decisions related to essential businesses are not made lightly. “Decisive actions like this one are what is going to put us in a position to reduce the risk and see the economy recover faster.”

The decision on garden centres has been made at the provincial level. British Columbia included retail garden centres on their list of essential services at the outset. Alberta announced their decision to greenhouse and garden centre owners last week. Quebec reopened garden centre and landscaping services to the public last week, with specific rules and measures in place. Garden centres are also categorized as essential in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

“We know the actions we are taking are affecting the lives and livelihoods of people across the province, but these are extraordinary times and we need to do whatever we can to keep individuals and families safe and stop the spread of this terrible virus,” adds OMAFRA.

The list of essential services can be found here.

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