Edmonton florist concerned COVID-19 travel restrictions may cut Valentine’s Day supply

The suspension of flights to sunny destinations to limit the spread of COVID-19 may be disrupting more than just any potential vacation plans. An Edmonton flower shop is worried about a possible product shortage as it nears one of its busiest days of the year, Valentine’s Day.

“With the whole issue of COVID-19, we’re having a lot of flight delays as well due to inspections, outbreaks things like that,” said Nicola Lapp, owner of Flowers by Merle.

Read more: Canada’s new travel restrictions a ‘nail in the coffin’ for airlines, tourism: experts

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, roses are a common gift choice.

Roses are just one of many flowers imported into Canada from the tropics. Given the federal government’s temporary ban on flights to and from warmer destinations, Lapp is worried travel restrictions may interrupt regular shipments ahead of Feb. 14.

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“The concern would be if the product didn’t show up and we have people that have already booked orders, what do we do at that point?”

This isn’t the first time the flower shop has faced this issue.

“At the beginning of the pandemic back in March when this all started, we were experiencing shortages because Holland had closed its flights out. So all the flowers that would have been transported from Europe were no longer available,” Lapp said.

She says if shipments continue to be an issue the business will turn to local growers, but that will increase the cost of buying a rose or other locally produced flowers.

Click to play video 'Maritime florists prepare for Valentine’s sales bloom with wilted supply' Maritime florists prepare for Valentine’s sales bloom with wilted supply

Maritime florists prepare for Valentine’s sales bloom with wilted supply

“There’s actually a lot of Canadian-grown roses that we’re seeing on the market now. They do tend to be more expensive because the way that they’re grown here… shorter growing seasons, more green houses.

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“Growing it tends to drive the price up a little bit higher,” Lapp said.

She encourages anyone wanting a particular flower or arrangement to pre-order, or take your chances.

Read more: Calgary airport 1 of only 4 international hubs as sun destination flights suspended

“With the way things are now I would definitely consider pre-ordering,” customer Lisa Trasm-Townsend said. “That way you’re not left high and dry and scrambling last-minute.”

“I’ll probably risk it last-minute,” another customer Scott Thorgeirson said.

“If there was something specific I knew would do the trick, I would probably come early but my wife is not super picky so I should be OK.”

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