The beatings will continue until morale improves: The worldwide panic over the Wuhan flu has in one month practically destroyed the $8.5 billion flower/bouquet industry.
Much of the crash has been caused by customers themselves cancelling weddings and events, but that process has been accelerated and promoted by the decision of governors to put their states under house arrest.
Within a few days, all of [flower seller Laura] Clare’s clients planning April weddings were scrambling to pick dates in the fall. She had to tell brides that some flowers, such as cherry blossoms, might not be available then. Soon, as the number of Covid-19 cases in New Jersey passed 1,000, the governor ordered all but essential businesses to close. Florists didn’t make the cut.
With her supply wilting, Clare started giving bouquets away, delivering some to older parishioners at a local church. She furloughed her five full-time employees and canceled her flower orders, which usually total at least $5,000 a week. She’s applying for a Small Business Administration loan that would let her put her workers back on the payroll. “I’ve been through 9/11,” Clare says. “I’ve been through Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Sandy. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
As with all the closures, the cancellations send disaster in waves throughout the economy. Event venues are now shuttered, their employees facing unemployment. Caterers have no work. Photographers, bakers, clothing designers, everyone involved in this industry is now facing bankruptcy and a crash that they will not recover from for months to years, if ever.
When it comes to something like the Wuhan virus, rational people do a cost-benefit analysis and apply some common sense. It makes no sense to destroy the entire worldwide economy because of a disease that is not going to be much worse than a typical flu season, especially because like the flu COVID-19 focuses most of its worst attacks against the older very sick population. The bulk of the population fights it off with no problem, and goes on living.
Now however we have decided to not allow that, even if the disease does them no harm. They must starve instead.
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