- Title: Flower shops in locked-down Lebanon open for Mother's Day but nobody comes
- Date: 22nd March 2020
- Summary: BEIRUT, LEBANON (MARCH 21, 2020) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF FLOWER SHOP OPEN FOR MOTHER'S DAY DECORATIVE PATTERN ON STORE EXTERIOR READING (English): "MOM" VARIOUS OF ROSE BOUQUETS ADORNED WITH BALLOONS READING (English): "LOVE YOU MOM" (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE FLOWER SHOP OWNER, IMAN TOHME, SAYING: "There is no comparison between Mother's Day this year and last year, most people aren't going out because of coronavirus fears even though we have taken precautions. We have sanitized the shop and are offering delivery services, we put out ads so people won't need to come down here, that we will start delivering and that we disinfect the flowers. But despite it all, people are afraid of any contact." FLORIST HUSSEIN WORKING AT ANOTHER FLOWER SHOP CARRYING FLOWER ARRANGEMENT WHILE WEARING GLOVES AND FACE MASK BALLOON ATTACHED TO FLOWER ARRANGEMENT READING (English): "LOVE YOU MOM" HUSSEIN REARRANGING BOUQUETS AND FLOWER ARRANGEMENTS AT HIS SHOP / NEIGHBOURING SHOPS CLOSED VARIOUS OF HUSSEIN REARRANGING POTS AND FLOWERS WHILE WEARING GLOVES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) FLORIST WORKING AT A FLOWER SHOP, HUSSEIN, SAYING: "People are afraid and no one is willing to come out at all. As you can see, the streets are empty and there is no business at all. I don't know what will happen next." BEIRUT, LEBANON (MARCH 20, 2020) (REUTERS) FLOWERS AND PLANTS ON DISPLAY AT PLANTATION VARIOUS OF PLANTS ON SHELVES TULIPS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE FLORAL DISTRIBUTOR, NIDAL ABI-HUSSAIN, SAYING: "The state shut stores, the production is all going to waste, as you can see, and the losses are in the millions." VARIOUS OF FLOWER BOUQUETS MORE OF FLOWERS AT PLANTATION (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE FLOWER SHOP OWNER, RAMZI TAKKOUCH, SAYING: "There are a lot of mothers asking their children not to come over, because they're scared of infection, very scared. I know a lot of people who are afraid and are telling their kids not to come." WORKER WALKING IN BETWEEN SHELVES OF PLANTS AND FLOWERS VARIOUS OF PLANTS AND FLOWERS AT PLANTATION (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE FLOWER SHOP OWNER, RAMZI TAKKOUCH, SAYING: "This is Lebanon's most miserable year: the economy is dead and now we have coronavirus... It was at rock bottom and now it's worse. May God relieve us, that's all we can say." VARIOUS OF FLOWERS OUTSIDE PLANTATION
- Keywords: Coronavirus Empty Shops Flowers Health Lebanon Mother's Day
- Reuters ID: LVA001C64UEDX
- Location: BEIRUT, LEBANON
- City: BEIRUT, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Duration: 00:03:06
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Story Text: Iman Tohme sanitized her Beirut flower shop, disinfected all the plants and announced they would deliver for Mother's Day on Saturday. But with Lebanon on coronavirus lockdown, almost nobody came or made an order.
"We put out ads that people don't need to come down here, that we will start delivering, that we disinfect the flowers. But despite it all, people are afraid," Tohme said.
Next to her, pink, red and yellow rose bouquets adorned with balloons that read "Love you Mom" stood untouched.
Lebanon's government ordered shut most of the country this week, hoping to rein in a coronavirus outbreak that has infected 206 people so far, with four deaths.
This has compounded woes in a country suffering from an economic crisis that has hiked prices and slashed jobs.
While flower and seed farmers said they got an exception to stay in business just for Mother's Day - one of the industry's top moneymakers - coronavirus curbs and worries still kept most people away.
It is usually the most important day of the year for Nidal abi-Hussain, but his plantation is empty now, except for a few workers wearing gloves and masks.
"The state shut stores, the production is all going to waste, as you can see, and the losses are in the millions," the floral distributor said.
Ramzi Takkouch closed his shop and offered only online deliveries this year, but even so, he said people were afraid of getting flowers at home.
"I know a lot of mothers telling their kids 'don't come visit' because they're scared of the infection," he said.
"This is Lebanon's most miserable year: the economy is dead and now we got corona," Takkouch added. "It was at rock bottom and now it's worse. May God relieve us, that's all we can say."
(Production: Issam Abdallah, Yara Abi Nader, Ellen Francis)
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