MORE than 300 people flocked to a Worcester garden centre within hours of it re-opening - while the golf club next door also saw large numbers of visitors.

It was the early steps towards a ‘new normal’ as changes to rules on what people can and cannot do came into force as the Government begins to ease coronavirus restrictions.

Under the changes, garden centres and golf courses were allowed to reopen. The Worcester Garden Centre on Droitwich Road, known locally as Blooms, was one of the many garden centres to reopen.

Manager Alan Gisbourne said that when the garden centre opened at 7am the car park was already full of people waiting to go in. The centre had 300 visitors by 10am.

He said: “We are all feeling really positive about being able to open up again, we have lots of safety measures in place such as social distancing markers, a one-way system and counters to keep track of the number of customers in the store at any one time. All of our staff wear PPE to protect themselves and we have staggered break times in place.

“The customers have been great, we have had some really good feedback. I think they are just really grateful and pleased that we are open again. I am really happy with how it has all gone, it is a relief to be open again.

"All the staff have been working so hard to keep the flowers alive and the getting the store ready for the public again.”

Just down the road, Ravenmeadow Golf Club in Hindlip also opened for the first time since March.

Owner, James Leaver said: “We opened at 7am, by 9.30am we had already seen lots of people coming out. I estimate by the end of the day we will have had around 200 visitors. People are itching to get out and I am glad that we are able to provide them with something to do.

“We have installed the appropriate measures so members are able to keep two metres apart and at this moment in time we are not giving out equipment, people must bring their own. We have had such a great response from everybody, we are opening up our adventure golf on Friday so families can come and entertain the children. We are over the moon to be able to accommodate them.”

Families were seen enjoying the outdoors in Worcester parks following new changes that mean people can now play sports, sunbathe and have picnics with members of their own household in public spaces for an unrestricted amount of time.

At Gheluvelt park and Diglis park, people were playing football, feeding the ducks, riding bikes and having picnics on the grass.

One mum, without a garden at home, said it was “a relief” to be able to get out and about for more than just an hour with her two small children.

There were also noticeably more cars on the road as people can now drive to outdoor open spaces, as well as travelling to the countryside, beaches or beauty spots in England.

A few people were walking through Worcester High Street, where most shops remain closed.

People are still being advised to stay home and avoid public transport wherever possible and work from home if they can.