Central England Co-op Funeralcare has opened its floral shops to the public for the first time since the beginning of lockdown.

From today (17 August), shops in Great Barr, Kingstanding and Stafford have reopened on reduced hours from 10am to 3pm between Monday and Friday, and Saturdays 9am to 3pm.

Stores in Stirchley, Droitwich and Kettering will also open between Monday and Friday from 10am to 3pm.

Earlier in lockdown, the society’s florists were helping in its food stores and funeral homes, as well as finding time to help families in the care of its funeral teams with advice and tips on creating natural arrangements from resources available in gardens.

When lockdown began to ease in early June, the floral shops remained closed to the public but the teams were able to return ‘back of house’ in the floral shops, focusing solely on supporting with funeral tributes.

Now, with the reopening of its shops to the public, anyone visiting one of the society’s florist shops will be asked to wear a face covering, adhere to social distancing guidelines and make use of hand sanitiser.

All staff will also be wearing face coverings.

Following the easing of the local lockdown in Leicester, Rowlatts Hill florists in the city can also once again take phone orders for funeral arrangements.

“We really enjoy what we do and love being able to come up with wonderful creations to help honour the life of a loved one,” said florist Sue Carty.

“However, we have missed welcoming the public into our shops and to help with a wide range of arrangements to suit their needs so are happy to be able to open our doors again.

“We look forward to seeing our communities in store again and appreciate their support as we introduce measures to keep colleagues and customers safe, including wearing a face covering when they visit us.”