Experts said Christmas tree sellers, farms and stalls were allowed to reopen for sale in England this weekend, after the government re-classified lockdown rules as “necessary” retailers.
While supermarkets and garden centers were seen as essential businesses selling newly cut trees, small “Farmgate” vendors were forced to close due to month-long bans.
The British Christmas Tree Growers Association lobbied for this change to support the UK’s fresh tree field, noting that sales also tend to be higher where social distance is easier. Many of its members are offering pre-booked appointments or even webcam facilities that allow them to “click on trees and collect” and other distribution services to choose their own trees as they appear on Christmas Eve. The organization has over 320 members who It sells about 8m trees per year and prices are usually lower than in gardens and centers, including fresh wreaths and holly.
Last week, Turkish farmers received a pre-Christmas encouragement from the government after learning that thousands of seasonal workers from Europe had come from Europe to help slaughter and scatter birds for the festival table, escaping the 14-day quarantine.
The British Poultry Council (BPC) has called for an immediate exemption from the travel ban on highly skilled turkey ploughmen and butchers to avoid a butcher crisis, which could lead to a collapse in supplies this year. About 9 million British turkeys are reared for Christmas each year, but the seasonal sector cannot survive without UK labor, it warns.
The evacuation will involve about 5,500 seasonal workers who typically travel from Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia – usually on a two-month contract – to help slaughter, cut and prepare the birds scheduled for the UK Christmas dinner table. Welcoming the move, BPC said: “If the discount helps us deliver a great Christmas and help our small seasonal producers, it could just be a good thing.”