French sector body FNMJ donates 100,000 facemasks to medical helpers
Garden centre association continues to engage with government departments

Author: Ron van der Ploeg

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, sector body FNMJ (Fédération Nationale des Métiers de la Jardinerie) donates 100,000 facemasks to medical helpers, and another 900,000 masks to its 1,600 members, in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19 in France.

The FNMJ is keeping a watching brief on the situation and continues to engage with government departments and other sector bodies such as Val’Hor to inform, help and support its members.

The coronavirus crisis has put the country’s garden retailers on a ‘wild roller coaster ride’, vividly seen on 14 March after FNMJ President Benjamin Déjardin ordered all garden centres to close ‘until further notice’ because of concerns for health and safety amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.

President Déjardin made his announcement moments after the French Prime Minister Edoard Philippe had ordered a lockdown of all non-essential public spaces. Initially, garden retailers were only allowed to open their pet food sections while their plants’ department remained shut. On 1 April, FNMJ announced a relaxation of measures allowing garden retailers to sell vegetable plants, seeds, bulbs and aromatic plants, followed by the news on 7 April that gardens centres with pet food departments are allowed to open up all of their sections.

Meanwhile, the French trade association has produced safe trading guidance, which covers all aspects of how garden centres can re-open while ensuring staff and customer stay safe.

As FNMJ continues to help its members fine-tune the details of their emergency preparedness, its board of directors decided on 7 April to order 1 million facemasks for its members. In recognition of their incredible efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, FNMJ d donated 100,000 facemasks to medical helpers.

FNMJ reconfirms its position as the sector’s leading industry body, defending the interests of more than 1,600 garden centres in France. The French garden market is worth nearly €3 billion, with 25.2 per cent generated from the sale of plants. The French garden centre sector provides work for 21,000 employees.