US: Floral shops need customers amid COVID-19 pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep families and loved ones apart, the disease is making it harder for people to perform a simple act of kindness — sending someone flowers.

“Hardly anybody wants flowers anymore, especially the real ones, so I don’t even sell them anymore,” said Jay Osburn, owner of Wayne Florist. “You can’t really deliver to nursing homes, either. We take them down there, and they put the flowers in quarantine for two days.”
Since visitation has been restricted in nursing homes and hospitals, some people have tried to send flowers to those they cannot see, but changes in the protocol have led some people to give up on sending floral arrangements altogether.
Nursing homes have required quarantining flowers before giving them to residents in order to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus, and while some hospitals have allowed flowers after quarantining as well, others have not allowed them at all, Osburn said.

Osburn sells artificial flower arrangements, and he said he stopped selling real flowers before COVID-19 hit because people just did not like how fast they died. He said in his experience, younger generations are rarely sending flowers, even on days that usually include lots of floral orders.

“Even with Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, we get some people but not like we used to,” Osburn said. “We used to sell 5- or 600 arrangements for Valentine’s Day, now I’m lucky to get 100.”
Tammy Gillette, florist, and owner of Tammy’s Floral and Gift Shop, said she is experiencing the same decline in flower purchases, and it has been hard on her business.

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