With funerals being limited to the immediate family, weddings being postponed and Easter services being in doubt during the coronavirus pandemic, Owensboro florists are struggling to keep up with changes in their business.

“We had slowed down quite a bit,” Heath Stone, owner of Ivy Trellis Floral, 1005 Burlew Blvd., said Wednesday. “So, we decided to shut down completely until this is over for the safety of our employees.”

He said the store is still filling orders for funerals, “but that’s slowed down as well.”

“We’re going down the tubes like everybody else, but we’re still working,” Gary Tunget said with a laugh.

He said his Gary’s Fleur-de-Lis, 2219 Frederica St., is seeing fewer funeral orders this month.

“We’re making deliveries,” Tunget said. “We sterilize the vases. The driver wears gloves. And we’re letting them know when the flowers arrive and setting them by the door.”

He said, “I have one wedding coming up and I think it will happen because it’s outdoors.”

Tunget said, “Some weddings are having drive-by receptions where the couple stands outside and friends and family drive by and honk.”

He said, “Most churches have canceled their orders for Easter flowers. But one pastor said he wants flowers on the altar whether people can come to Easter services or not.”

At Welborn Floral & Events, 920 E. Fourth St., Sally Knight Barker said, “Our store is closed, but we’ve been taking orders by phone and the internet for the past week and a half.”

She said, “All of our weddings have been postponed until July, August or September. But we’re still having funeral orders.”

Barker said some grandparents are sending things to their grandchildren since they can’t be with them.

“We’re taking precautions with our driver,” she said. “He’s wearing a mask and gloves. And we’ll knock and set them on the porch if that’s what the customer wants. We’re still having funeral orders.”

The Society of American Florists has written letters to governors across America, saying that “the importance of flowers to public health during stressful times — combined with industry’s expertise in safe delivery of the product to consumers — should qualify floral businesses to be able to continue to deliver products.”

The letter says the floriculture industry can “play a critical role in improving the population’s mental health as we navigate COVID-19.”

It says that in a time of social isolation and heightened loneliness, research from Rutgers, the University of North Florida and Harvard University shows that flowers decrease stress and anxiety as well as lesson depression among seniors.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301 klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301


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