Coronavirus stems Valentine's flower fever

By Pham Chieu   February 14, 2020 | 05:24 pm GMT+7
With the ongoing coronavirus epidemic gutting demand, merchants at Hanoi’s Quang Ba flower market are having to sell at a loss to recuperate capital.
3:30 a.m. Friday morning. Quang Ba wholesale flower market, Tay Ho district, is nearly empty, unlike this time every other year when it bustles with traders. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic has left the market manned by only a few merchants on this year’s Valentine’s Day.

At 3:30 a.m. Friday morning, Quang Ba wholesale flower market, Tay Ho district, is nearly empty, unlike this time every other year when it bustles with traders. The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic has left the market manned by only a few merchants on Valentine’s Day this year.

There’s no Valentine’s for us this year, said a flower seller, referring to the gloomy atmosphere wrapping the market.

"There’s no Valentine’s for us this year," said a flower seller, referring to the gloomy atmosphere wrapping the market.

Ha, a small scale merchant who has sold flowers at Quang Ba market over many years, said demand this year had fallen greatly. We’re already losing. We bought roses at VND130,000 ($5.59) per 30 and are selling them at VND100,000 ($4.30) but nobody bought.. Now, I am even willing to sell if someone can pay VND50,000 ($2.15), she said.

Ha, a small scale merchant who has sold flowers at Quang Ba market over many years, said demand this year had fallen greatly.

"We’re already losing. We bought roses at VND130,000 ($5.6) per 30 and are selling them at VND100,000 ($4.3) but nobody bought. Now, I am even willing to sell if someone can pay VND50,000 ($2.2)," she said.

Red roses always pull lots of customers on Valentine’s, but traders say they can only offload around half of their stocks this year. Although we have ordered less flowers this year, we only sold around half. Because of the epidemic, everybody is too scared to go out and buy anything. Demand has fallen around 70 percent compared to last year, when we didn’t even have flowers left to sell, said Nhi, owner of a flower shop.

Red roses always pull lots of customers on Valentine’s, but traders say they can only offload around half of their stocks this year.

"Although we have ordered less flowers this year, we only sold around half. Because of the epidemic, everybody is too scared to go out and buy anything. Demand has fallen around 70 percent compared to last year, when we didn’t even have flowers left to sell," said Nhi, owner of a flower shop.

With no customers frequenting her stand, a vendor steals a nap amid her bouquets.

With no customers frequenting her stand, a vendor steals a nap amid her bouquets.

A quiet morning at another flower stand.

A quiet morning at another flower stand.

A shop owner watches a video on her phone while waiting for customers to come buy flowers.

A shop owner watches a video on her phone while waiting for customers to come buy flowers.

Many small traders said they would persist until the end of Valentines Day to recuperate expenses.

Many small traders said they would persist until the end of Valentine's Day to recuperate expenses.

While wholesale traders are sad, some individual retailers and street vendors are happy to get their hands on cheap flowers.

While wholesale traders are sad, some individual retailers and street vendors are happy to get their hands on cheap flowers.

 
 
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