Hawaiian florists have been yanked around quite a bit over the last several days.
After the state’s floral shops were told they would be allowed to operate for Mother’s Day, Hawaiian Gov. David Ige reversed the decision on Saturday.
On Monday, the Democratic governor reversed the decision yet again.
Initially, on April 18, florists across the state received an email from firstname.lastname@example.org, an address that the Hawaiian governor’s office had been using, saying a stay-at-home exemption had been granted, KHON-TV in Honolulu reported.
Monty Pereira, general manager of Watanabe Floral, told the outlet about the exemption and subsequent reversal.
“When the exemption came in, all the florists here put in our orders with farms around the world,” Pereira said.
“When all of our orders went in, we all had to pay upfront, so depending on the size of the florist, you’re talking about a couple thousand dollars to more than $20,000 in product that we committed to for Mother’s Day,” he said.
That investment paid off, Pereira told KHON, as hundreds of Hawaiians called in hoping to get their mothers a beautiful bouquet for Mother’s Day.
“Once it actually hit out there, within 48 hours we had 500 orders already in our system,” he said. “So it was staggering, the response, how quickly it came in.”
Then, at a midday news conference Saturday, the governor reversed the decision.
“I think that permission was granted prematurely,” Ige said, according to The Associated Press.
“I was not aware that it was actually granted, and the person authorizing it did not have the authority,” he said.
Flower shops such as Watanabe Floral were shocked at the decision.
For customers who placed their orders for Mother's Day, please note that there is a chance that we might not be able to…
“I was like, ‘Wait, is this real? This can’t possibly be real,'” Pereira said.
“I don’t understand. Is there some compromise we can reach at this point? Understand that all the financial commitments have been made from all the florists.”
Ige reversed his decision in a Facebook Live video Monday.
Announcing florist operations
Posted by Governor David Ige on Monday, April 27, 2020
“I discussed this with the mayors, and we all believe that florists, certainly, is one of the businesses where the risk is low,” the governor said.
“Florists will be included in the very first phase of businesses that would be allowed to reopen as we approach this safer-at-home phase of COVID-19,” he said.
With safer practices, florists will be allowed to reopen Friday.
This flip-flopping over stay-at-home exemptions isn’t unique to Hawaii.
Last month, another Democrat, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, issued an order to close all “non-life-sustaining” businesses, including gun shops.
But days later, after being pressured by residents, Wolf changed the order to read, “Firearms dealers may operate physical businesses on a limited basis to complete only the portions of a sale/transfer that must be conducted in-person under the law.”
Until the country is reopened for good, businesses will likely be forced to face continued uncertainty.
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