WAITE PARK -- Garden centers and nurseries in Minnesota are allowed to reopen following recent updates to Governor Tim Walz's stay at home order.

Tom Woods, owner of Woods Farmer Seed and Nursery in Waite Park, says the store will reopen with social distancing measures enforced and special morning hours for shoppers with a higher risk of more severe COVID-19 infections.

"We have to be concerned about the number of customers coming in, and making sure everything is clean and wiped down at all times," Woods said. "We are reserving those early morning hours - 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. - for anyone who would rather shop when there are not a lot of customers in the store."

Woods says they will keep an eye on the amount of customers, both in the store and outside in the nursery area, to make sure proper social distancing is being practiced.

The store has seen a sharp increase in seed orders in recent weeks. Woods suspects the uptick in sales is related to more people spending their days at home, looking for a relaxing activity.

"Gardening is such a great experience," Woods said. "Just getting your hands dirty, and the excitement of seeing something growing that you planted yourself. Gardening can be a kind of therapy to help relieve some stress. This is going to be a trying time for people, and we need outlets to help us through this time period."

Woods Farmer Seed and Nursery is open to the general public from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. each day will be reserved for elderly or higher-risk customers.

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