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Saturday, 14 March 2020

COVID-19 Update

**Wednesday 1st April - Update**

It has been brought to my attention that there are some shops (florists) open and operating again due to some wholesalers flouting the governments request that we do not open, and they are importing flowers into the country. We will NOT be using these wholesalers, or opening the shop until such time as the government tells us we are out of lock down. 

We are classed a non-essential business and as such are not allowed to be trading. Sadly, the amount of deaths that have happened in the past 24 hours in the UK strike home just how devastating this virus is, and as a result we WILL be abiding by all laws as set down by the government, and doing what is required of us to protect not only ourselves, but our customers, random strangers we may come into contact with, and of course, the amazing staff working round-the-clock in the NHS. Yes, these are desperate times and money is short, hard to come across and our business will be affected, however, human lives are far more important to us than adding a few pounds to the bank account. Thankfully, the wholesaler we deal with are also abiding by the rules and as such we will remain in lock down until the government tell us we no longer need to be. 

We hope you are all keeping safe, and healthy.

**Tuesday 24th March - Update**

In line with the government directive we are now closed for the foreseeable future. We will still ensure our funeral orders for the rest of this week are delivered, however, with our wholesalers now in full lock down also, we will be unable to fulfil any other orders - birthdays, anniversaries and all general occasions. 

A full refund to those of you who have orders placed with me in the next few weeks will be issued. 

Please take care of each other, and stay safe.

We will see you all when we are given the go ahead to re-open. 

**Sunday 22nd March - Update**

As of now we are in lock down :( We will be honouring all orders we currently have in place (as long as the wholesale markets remain open - any issues we will contact you direct) and are working on plans/ways to get us back up-and-running as soon as possible.

I will continue to update social media, this page, and our web page as/when/if things change.

Thank You, to all of you who have continued to support us this week; sorry to any of you I've not been able to help.

Stay safe, ease up on the amount of loo rolls you're buying, and keep an eye out for your vulnerable friends and neighbours. If we all work together, look out for each other, and follow the guidelines, we might just all make it out the other side of this without too many issues.

**Thursday 19th March Update**

Well, this isn't what I was expecting to be posting this morning. Having chatted with Clive, looking at all government guidelines, and after speaking to several family members working within the NHS, we have made the decision to close the shop from Monday 23rd March for a week; this will possibly run into 2 weeks (and maybe even further depending on how this pandemic plays out). This is the very last thing we want to do, however, we have to put our own health, the health of Chris (our amazing driver), the health of our own families and the health of each-and-every one of our customers, first. As a non-essential business anything we can do to slow the rate of infection has to be done, if just to give our amazing NHS staff a bit of breather. I, for one, do not want to find myself, or anyone I know, in the situation of being unable to have a bed or medical equipment needed to keep me alive, because my selfishness had overwhelmed the system.

This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and those of you having a go at me for this need to remember if the shop is closed it is not taking any money; if it's not taking any money, I do not get paid, yet the shop still has bills to pay (whether we are open or not) and I personally still have bills to pay. Closing means there will be no income to pay any of them. I stand to lose everything by closing, but if it means I keep my health and I don't pass anything on to anyone in my family, my customers or just some random stranger I meet in the street on my way to work, so they all keep their health, then that is how it will be. We all have a 'duty of care' to protect the people around us.Thankfully, for every awful person I've had to deal with this week, there have been 20 lovely ones.

Any orders we have for next week we will honour to the very best of our ability, but we will not be taking any additional orders from now until we are able to reopen at a time it is more sensible to do so and there is less risk to any of you.

I will update all social media as-and-when I am able and as soon as I know anything, I will let you all know. Please, stay safe, look after yourselves, and where possible look out for your vulnerable neighbours, friends and family.

We will be back; we're just not sure when yet.

Please be aware I have no idea what other florists are doing (going to do). All I can suggest is if we are unable to help you,  you give them a call.

**Wednesday 18th March Update**

We are still continuing to operate as normal, however, as I've said all week we are very much at the control of the government, and at this moment-in-time we have no idea whether they will allow us to continue trading, or not. I know as much as all of you do (in fact I am sure some of you know more than I). 

Please, remember this is as stressful for me, as it is for you. I have a Mum in the "at risk" category and many other family members who also pose a potential risk, along with a business to run and I have no control over any of it. I am doing all I possibly can to help you (my customers) as best I can and am continually working on different ideas, strategies and scenarios to fulfil your future requests. As a result of this I do not think it is too much to ask for a little bit of respect; being rude to me, shouting at me and calling me names after I have explained that I may have to let you down on a Mothers Day order is really not a nice thing for you to do, or for me to be subjected to. I understand your Mum may be home alone, that you are not able to get to her and that she could end up in forced isolation with no contact and you want to let her know you are thinking of her on Sunday, and I am doing all I can to be able to help you with that, however, as I have stated, I have no control right now over what is going to happen by then. Those of you who have been rude to me (and you know who you are) might want to think about maybe picking up the phone and calling your Mum on Sunday, instead of relying on me - or any of my fellow florists - to let her know you're thinking of her. I'm sure she'd enjoy that just as much. 

**Tuesday 17th March Update**

Until advised/told otherwise we are business-as-usual, however, we are preparing ourselves for the government to put us into lock down, which will have an effect on how we operate and as such we need to bring to your attention that we may not be able to guarantee any order placed with us for a future date, ie. Mothers Day and the weeks beyond (although all indications are we will be able to trade as we have done for the past 11 years). We are doing everything we can to minimise the impact to you all, and have organised ourselves contingency and back-up plans, however, we are at the mercy of the government and if they tell us we have to close for a week-or-2 then we will have do as they ask. They also have the power to control the ports and, as such, could affect our supply chain but this is most highly unlikely to be implemented. We work with the best wholesalers in the industry and they are telling us that the markets will remain open, which means they will continue to supply us daily and they are confident this will remain the case. 

**Monday 16th March**

Currently we are open as normal and hoping that continues to be the case. We are following all updates from the government and as it stands at the moment it would appear we are unlikely to be forced into a lock down, although that could change in an instant.

We ask that you stick with us as-best-you-can and you do all you to can to support your small local shops during the comings weeks/months (not just a florist, but all businesses; bakers, butchers, pet stores, cafe's, corner shops, newsagents etc). We are sailing in uncharted waters and small, local, independent businesses like ourselves, rely on our customers to keep us operational on a day-to-day basis. We don't have the backing of government who will issue bail-outs to us in the same way the big supermarkets/stores do, and we certainly don't have millions sitting in bank accounts. 95% of all small businesses operate day-to-day. One bad day's trading can see them struggle to pay their bills at the end-of-the-month; a fortnight without trade due to a government lock down could see thousands of small businesses forced to cease trading, resulting in job losses for their staff. They are also safer for you to shop in than the big superstores. 

I would like to add if you have a relation in our area that you are unable to get to, who has been told to self isolate and they need help of any kind, please let us know; we will do all that we can to help them out for you.

Regarding the transference of the disease, we have some extra measures implemented to help keep not only you (our customers) safe but also ourselves. We all have relations who fall into the “high risk” category and realise the importance of doing all we can to help stop the spread of what is appearing to be an unstoppable disease right now.

Every surface which a customer, wholesaler, or visitor to the shop comes into contact with is being steralised once they leave (sorry to those of you who have felt I’m making you feel ‘unclean’ 😊) from the shop door handles (both sides) to the strip across the middle of the door (where kids hands have a habit of pushing) to the work surfaces and shelves. It may be untidy but it’s steralised to within an inch of it’s walls and you could operate in the shop right now if you had to – although I wouldn’t advise it.

Thankfully, we are not a cash business (if we take £10 per week in cash it’s a lot) however, every penny or note which goes into the till is sprayed before it nestles in it’s tray; the till tray itself is sprayed several times each day. The credit card machine is sprayed after every entry is made regardless of whether the payment is made via chip-and-pin, or contactless.

I’ve always used hand sanitiser on a regular basis in the shop, due to the very nature of the work I am doing, but I’ve ramped up how often, and how much I use now, ensuring I clean my hands before I cut off an wrapping needed for flowers, or before handling the ribbon to make the bows. This way I know nothing is being transferred onto the materials I am using; Chris is doing his hands before handling the bouquets that have been made and are being delivered to you.

These are troubling and worrying times for us all, and small businesses especially are struggling, but remember you are far better off (and safer) to use your small, local and independent shops than you are a superstore; we have the capabilities to keep our businesses as germ free as possible. Bigger shops have absolutely no control and anyone (or everyone) in that store could be passing it around.  

Your loved ones, and your Mum’s/Grandma’s, favourite Aunties and anyone else you wish to buy flowers for, will be far less likely to catch anything from one of our bouquets, arrangements or baskets, than they will from the Order Gathering companies (Interflora, M&S, Moonpig Prestige, Serenata, Arena and the like). 

If a florist (not a superstore like M&S who just sell flowers and take orders for them) does not have a physical shop for you to be able to visit (easily found by addresses and google maps) then they are NOT a shop, and as such your order will be made in a central warehouse somewhere with numerous people handling it – similar to a conveyor belt in a factory.

We will keep you up-to-date as (when or if) things change. Here’s hoping you all stay safe and healthy.

Order online or by telephone 01329 8459457 for next day delivery
(same day possible on occasions - dependant on stock levels).

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