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Car park fills within 30 minutes of Maidstone's Coolings Potted Garden Nursery reopening

A garden centre car park was full up within half-an-hour of opening this morning.

Coolings Potted Garden Nursery in Bearsted, near Maidstone, welcomed eager customers queuing up in their cars outside the gates before they were unlocked at 10am.

The car park of Coolings Potted Garden Nursery was full by 10.30am
The car park of Coolings Potted Garden Nursery was full by 10.30am

By, 10.30am, almost all parking spaces were taken and trolleys were running out.

Assistant manager Will Rafferty says the rush was expected.

He said: "We've been getting calls throughout lockdown from people asking if we were open and the last few days we've been telling them we are opening this morning so we expected quite a few people. There was a queue running all the way down the road.

"Everyone has mostly followed the rules. We've seen a few people ask others to keep their distance but that's about it."

The Ashford Road centre has set strict guidelines for shoppers to help maintain socially distancing, including banning under 18s for the time being.

Customers are asked to follow rules at the nursery to help maintain social distancing
Customers are asked to follow rules at the nursery to help maintain social distancing
Assistant manager Will Rafferty says the rush was expected
Assistant manager Will Rafferty says the rush was expected

Mr Rafferty said: "Young children often run around and this could make people feel uncomfortable. But it's all within reason - if someone is 17 we're not going to turn them away."

A sign at the entrance instructs customers to only touch products they need, keep 2m away from others and follow signage guiding them around the nursery.

Wipes are also available for trolleys and contactless payment is requested if possible.

Staff are wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the virus and the store is also opening an hour later than usual, so employees can tend to plants without the risk of bumping into shoppers.

There are cleaning supplies at the entrance for customers to use
There are cleaning supplies at the entrance for customers to use

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