SAF Issues Letter to Governors
On March 24, the Society of American Florists sent a letter to the nation’s governors urging state governments to keep floral and related businesses open during the ongoing COVD-19 crisis, citing the importance of flowers to the public’s health and mental well being during stressful times.
“Agriculture is one of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors identified by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) as vital to the economic security, public health and safety of the United States,” says Kate Penn, CEO of the Society of American Florists. “We are writing to highlight an essential aspect of agricultural production and distribution—floriculture—and its impact on public health.”
Additionally, SAF said the industry’s deep expertise in safe delivery of product to consumers, as well as the role flowers play in people’s lives, should qualify floral businesses as essential.
The floriculture industry can “play a critical role in improving the population’s mental health as we navigate COVID-19,” the letter states. In a time of social isolation and heightened loneliness, the letter highlights research from Rutgers, the University of North Florida and Harvard University that shows flowers decrease stress and anxiety as well as lesson depression among seniors.
“The floriculture industry can give families and friends separated by distance a joyful and safe way to connect and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress—all through the convenience and safety of electronic ordering and touch-free delivery,” Penn says. “Our industry has been offering delivery for well over 100 years, so just like restaurants, couriers and other delivery services, florists are well equipped to get our product to consumers while adhering to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines.
SAF is encouraging all segments of the floriculture industry to personalize the letter and send it to state and local officials. The decision on which businesses can stay open during the COVID-19 crisis is made at the local level, so it’s important legislators hear from their constituents.