Important Advice about handling flowers during COVID-19 from the American Floral Endowment

Beloved Flower Lover,

We recieved this message from our colleagues in the USA regarding COVID-19.

The Coronavirus hit the floral industry very hard this spring at a time that usually has high sales and profits. In the first few weeks of this pandemic, floral sales plummeted. We were concerned not only about the survival of businesses but for the health and safety of family, friends, and employees. And, without a doubt, this virus has impacted every aspect of our daily lives.

Medical professionals are seeking answers to unknown facts about this terrible disease. One fact that has become evident is that the virus is highly contagious from person to person. It is not clear, however, why some people die from the disease while others may be asymptomatic and why some locations are impacted while others are not affected. At this time, it is frightening that it is not known how COVID-19 will develop the remainder of this year and in years to come. Prediction models show that there will be additional infections and additional spikes of infections in certain areas. We can all hope for an effective vaccination soon. Until then, the floral industry must continue to adapt business practices and employee work practices to keep people healthy while seeking a successful business.

As the industry adapts and changes, we receive questions about the virus so we are providing information that may be useful. The following questions and answers are designed to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on you, your employees, your customers, and your family.

Q. Can the virus be transmitted in plants and flowers?

A. No. There is no evidence that COVID-19 can infect a plant. In fact, plant cells have a cell wall while animal cells have a cell membrane but not a cell wall. The COVID-19 particle can penetrate the cell membrane in animal cells. However, the COVID-19 particles, while only 125 nanometers, is one of the largest virus particles and they are too large to enter the plant cell wall. And, even if they could enter the cell, they would need receptors in the cell – these receptors do not exist in plant cells.

Q. Does this mean that flowers and plants cannot spread COVID-19?

A. No. If a person handling plants and flowers has been infected with COVID-19 and coughs, sneezes, or even breathes on plants and flowers, virus particles could be deposited on the surface of the leaves, flowers, or stems or on flower boxes or flower containers. It is not known how long the virus particles will live on flowers and plants. Experts are not sure yet if the virus is spread by aerosol or droplets. People who are asymptomatic (approximately 35%) may spread the virus without their knowledge. For this reason, anyone handling plants and flowers should wear a mask to prevent the spread of the disease.

Q. How can we protect our employees and customers from exposure to COVID-19?

A. Many of the critical elements to prevent the spread of COVID-19 relate to sanitation and social distancing. Why? This virus, just as with the common cold, is spread person-to-person by aerosol or droplets from the nose and mouth. The following procedures should be followed:

  1. Wash hands with soap and warm water frequently.
  2. Sanitize all work surfaces, tools, and equipment. If some of these items are shared, then they should be cleaned before the next person uses them.
  3. Clean (sanitize) floors of work areas, coolers, and vehicles daily. Shared vehicles should be sanitized between each use.
  4. Always wear a mask.
  5. Keep employees 6 feet from each other (social distancing is effective).

Having many people in an enclosed space is one of the most common ways that the virus is spread. This situation is being referred to as ‘superspreader’ conditions resulting in high-risk exposure to the virus.

Q. How do I clean and what should I use?

A. First, it is important to realize that not all cleaners are disinfectants. There are a few cleaners that are effective. Some floral industry disinfectants contain Quaternary Ammonium Compounds – they are effective and provide residual control after drying. And, they do not need to be washed off unless the surface will be used for food items. Bleach will kill COVID-19 spores, but the effectiveness of bleach is very short. Regardless of the disinfectant used, the surface being cleaned should remain moist for 15 minutes.

As we progress through this ‘new normal’ living and business conditions, we know that our decisions will be vital to reducing the impact and spread of this virus. For now, wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and disinfecting all items handled are the most reliable ways to remain safe and healthy.

This has been taken directly from AFE. We trust you may find it useful

The Team,

The London Flower Lover

About Thelondonflowerlover

Welcome to The London Flower Lover. We are florists who create floral collections to tell your real life story. With colour and texture, we take floristry into an entirely new direction based on the challenges and joys of your life. Offering what we call 'heart based floristry' we use style, fashion, and life situations and merge them with heart based lifestyle support. This inspiring blend creates so much more for those who love flowers. Using flowers in the traditional way of course, but always using flowers to open up a floralicious conversation about relationships of all kinds. We are a sort of work in progress of compassionately confirming how we are already on the inside, the love we want to see out in the world. That is mission of The London Flower Lover. So saying yes to recognising that is at the heart of this blog and using flowers to honour that inner world is how we use the beauty of giving and receiving flowers. This blog is your blog. It's as much about cultivating your heart, as it is about enjoying the physical beauty of flowers. It offers story, poems and video to reflect the life you actually live whilst showing beautifully inspiring collections of flower designs. Hand-tied bouquets, arrangements and more. All this with sought after tips from well established experts on how to keep a happy heart. This is what makes The London Flower Lover unique and magical. Yes, and that's how we make the difference that we do. When life looks, feels, or sounds challenging, we offer a sanctuary that you may dip into. A well of refreshment and strength that you may draw from. Sharing what others have found to be successful ways of being happy in the face of challenges, whilst letting flowers do the talking when we have no other way to interpret what is going on. Use flowers to help you re-discover, reveal and remember how you can still be despite challenges. Use flowers to celebrate and to embody the possibility of your heart felt desire, fulfilled. Use flowers in your life, to remind you of the beauty of your life. Use The London Flower Lover today. We invite you to stay curious in this floral universe as you explore the love in the heart. This is a floralicious world.
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