Residents from Barnes have spoken out after a popular flower stall was shut down last week due to COVID-19 regulations.

Sun Inn Flowers, in SW13, has operated from an outdoor stall near Barnes Pond for the last 32 years, but was forced to close over lockdown after flower sales were deemed ‘non-essential’.

Elizabeth Dimock and Jane Williams, the mother-daughter team that runs the business, reopened the stall on Thursday (Feb 6) ahead of Valentine’s Day after weeks spent closed.

However, three days later the business was instructed to shut down after a visit from a COVID-19 officer.

The business was instructed to operate only on a click-and-collect basis and take orders by website payment or risk a £2000 fine.

Sun Inn Flowers, decorated for Valentines Day

Sun Inn Flowers, decorated for Valentine's Day

Sun Inn Flowers quickly launched a website, but the owners hope to overturn the Council’s decision.

Alongside members of the community, Elizabeth and Jane are lobbying for permission to operate as an open-air trading stall, such as those at Barnes’ Saturday market.

They have backed a petition launched to “Re-open Essential Community Businesses Such as Sun Inn Flowers,” which suggests that small businesses are suffering disproportionately in the pandemic.

The petition also states that in boroughs such as Hammersmith & Fulham and Chelsea & Westminster flowers are considered essential goods.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Jane at Sun Inn FlowersJane at Sun Inn Flowers

Jane Williams said:

“We support the petition wholeheartedly. Flowers are recognised as essential by Westminster Council and there are similar businesses are open across London.

“Richmond however has threatened me and made it all but impossible to trade, despite allowing ice cream parlours and other market stalls to trade despite selling luxury rather than essential items of food.

“The decision to restrict our safe market-style business has discriminated against those who cannot shop online or look forward to their trips to the stall on Barnes Pond as an occasional outing with a carer. The wellbeing of our community is not being considered by our council.”

A spokesperson for Richmond Council said:

"Under the current Government COVID-19 restrictions, florists are not considered essential businesses and are therefore not allowed to remain open. The COVID-19 guidance states that only garden centres and agricultural supply stores are able to open.

“Therefore, the Council has advised this business that unfortunately, they were not operating within the law and needed to close or offer click and collect. In addition, we have advised on them on what business grants they are able to apply for."