Quebec florists say they don't fully understand why they are essential

(Viewer photo submitted by: Sue Legault)

As shops shutter their doors across the province, florists and garden centres are still on the list of essential services -- a gift that many entrepreneurs aren’t taking for granted, even if they don’t totally understand it.

“We say to ourselves that there must be a florist around the premier,” said Marie-Pier Verpaelst, co-owner of Rita Fleuriste in Sherbrooke.

Florists were designated essential when the province announced new lockdown measures on Dec. 26.

“We were almost embarrassed,” she said. “We felt bad for the other businesses that couldn’t open.”

The province says florists are essential “because their inventories perishable and alive.”

On the other hand, garden centres are essential because they fall into the ‘hardware’ category.

Bloma Fleuriste in downtown Sherbrooke has been closed since the start of the holidays. Manager Émily Lapierre says she’s gearing to reopen.

“It will be before Valentine's Day, that's for sure,” she said.

THE ‘GREEN BOOM’

Like food delivery and hand sanitizer, plant retailers are gearing up for a rush through the winter.

They attribute this uptick in traffic to the so-called ‘green boom’ generated by the health crisis.

“We are not going to hide that there is an explosion,” said Lapierre.

She says she’s unsure how she’s going to keep up with demand without in-store shopping.

“It will be different, but we will be well prepared,” she said. “On Valentine's Day we usually see a line of people inside. We know that can't happen.”

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