Valentine’s Day takes place in the shadow of COVID-19

2020-02-14 04:37     Comment:0

Traditional gifts for Valentine’s Day are flowers and chocolates and this year appears to be no exception, despite the CORVID-19 virus scare shutting down much of the city.
Yesterday The Macau Post Daily spoke to Anna Ng Ian Na, the owner of Flower Land in Avenida Ouvidor Arriaga, about the effect of the city’s near-shutdown on her business.

Compared to the rest of the street the shop was all hustle and bustle with staff preparing bouquets and customers perusing the catalogue to place their orders.

“This year our business is about 40 percent of a usual Valentine’s Day, but then we haven’t done much promotion or advertising,” Ng said, “With the casinos and offices shut we haven’t had our usual orders, no-one is having flowers delivered [to their significant other] to their offices.

“We have been open for 31 years and luckily our old customers are supporting us.”

When asked if the cost of flowers this year had increased, Ng said, “With the [COVID-19] there is a problem with transportation so there is less supply. The wholesale price has increased by about 20 percent, but we are selling at the same price as last year because if the price is too high, no-one would buy.”

Ng said that usually on February 13, “we take on part-time staff and work until midnight, but this year there is no need, we just have the normal staff and there will be no overtime today (yesterday).”

Flower Land has been taking orders over the phone, by email, WhatsApp and WeChat and will deliver, even during these trying times.

‘No mood’

Local resident Tony Leong who buys his wife flowers every Valentine’s Day told The Macau Post Daily yesterday that he won’t be ordering any bouquets this year.

“I’m really not in the mood,” Leong said, adding that he was more concerned with cross infection and feeding his family whose daughter has just turned 4, but vowed he’d make up for it for his wife with a nice gift and for his daughter with a nice celebration after the city recovers from the virus.

Another resident, Carmen Tai, told The Macau Post Daily that her husband was a “very practical” person who prefers buying her gifts that are more long lasting.

“So, I never expect flowers from him,” Tai said, “I just hope everyone is fine.”

A flower vendor at the São Domingos Municipal Market told The Macau Post Daily that business has been down since Chinese New Year.

“People are not going out, the locals are afraid, but the Filipinos are still out buying flowers,” stall owner Jenny Wong Lai Chan said, “They’re romantic.”

A basic bouquet costs about 50 patacas and a single wrapped rose costs 15 patacas at Wong’s stall.

“There’s no point of making things expensive only because it’s Valentine’s Day, it takes out the meaning,” Wong said.
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