Mother's Day flowers: Chicago florists prepare for rush with new safety measures

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mother's Day is just around the corner, but it's going to look a lot different this year with Illinois' stay at home order still in place.

On Chicago's South Side, workers at Leo's Metropolitan Florist have their work cut out for them. The shop has been closed for more than a month due to the COVID-19 stay at home order.

The owner, Marek Fortineaux, said he's happy to be back just in time for Mother's Day.

"It's a lot of uncertainty," he said. "You can't take them out to eat this year. WE can't go to church with them. This is the best way to say, 'I love you mom.'"

But if you're having flowers delivered to your mother, grandmother or any special woman in your life, is it safe?

"There's no research whatsoever indicating that the virus can be spread through flowers," said Kate Penn, CEO of the Society of American Florists.

She says customers shouldn't be worried and many florists are taking extra precautions to protect themselves and the flower recipient.

"They're making sure the designers have their own sets of tools," Penn said. "They aren't sharing their tools. They're not connecting with the person receiving the flowers. They are calling them ahead, they're saying, "I'm coming by, I'm leaving these on your doorstep."

Penn says this year, flower orders will be especially important for loved ones in nursing homes, who may be feeling more isolated than ever.

"People are looking for a way to connect with people that they haven't been able to see in weeks, so flowers have become this really nice way to bring people together," she said.

Meanwhile at Leo's Metropolitan, customers won't be allowed inside, but between phone, online orders, delivery and curbside pickup, they say they want to spread love and joy, one arrangement at a time.

While experts say there's no proof the virus can be spread through flowers, some shops are taping wipes to the box or vase for customers who want to be extra cautious.

Floral experts say flower prices have not gone up and you can expect to pay what you normally would for a mother's day arrangement.

Penn did however say if you haven't ordered yet, Thursday should be your day to get those orders in if you haven't already.

If you plan on sending flowers to a loved one in a nursing home, check with the facility to make sure they are allowing deliveries first.
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