Florists were given the OK to deliver flowers for Mother’s Day, then the state backtracked

Mother's Day is another big-ticket holiday for florists. Now its up in the air.
Mother's Day is another big-ticket holiday for florists. Now its up in the air.(HNN)
Updated: Apr. 26, 2020 at 10:36 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Struggling florists are pleading with the state to reconsider a ban on deliveries for Mother’s Day — after previously giving the OK for them and then backtracking.

It’s a communication failure that florists say could cost them tens of thousands of dollars.

On Saturday, the governor said deliveries wouldn’t be allowed. That came several days after florists got a very different message from the state.

Based on information from the state, Watanabe Floral was planning to sell 1,000 arrangements via contactless delivery. They said the state told them they could sell flowers for one week only beginning May 4.

It was the much-needed lifeline florists were banking on since so many big events — like graduations and proms — have been cancelled.

But Gov. David Ige has since rescinded that exemption for florists.

When asked about it on Saturday, he said, “I think that the permission was granted prematurely, and so I was not aware that it was actually granted and the person authorizing that did not have the authority.”

It was an upsetting surprise for many florists, including Monty Pereira, general manager of Watanabe Floral.

“The minute we got the exemption, we turned on our website to accept orders and within the first 48 hours we had 500 orders already,” he said. “Then last night, we got the rescinding letter from them saying that you’re not gonna be able to do this.”

“We’ve all endured this huge cost of committing and paying for these flowers that if they don’t allow us to do anything now, its directly going to be a huge financial burden for us — for all of us,” Pereira added.

For customers who placed their orders for Mother's Day, please note that there is a chance that we might not be able to...

Posted by Watanabe Floral, Inc. on Saturday, April 25, 2020

By the end of Saturday’s news conference, it wasn’t clear if or when Ige would make a decision to allowing florists to open ahead of Mother’s Day.

“You know certainly we are looking at that specifically. We will be looking at businesses and we are incorporating that assessment in our review, looking business by business, and industry by industry, looking at what the best practices are and we will be making a decision about florists in the future,” Ige said.

Watanabe Floral has reported a 97 percent drop in sales since they closed on March 23.

“It’s going to be a very, very costly situation where, for some local florists, this could be the dagger where they cannot recover from this,” Pereira said.

Pereira said the state needs to quickly clarify the rules as the deadline to place orders for internationally shipped flowers is quickly approaching.

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