Yiyuan flower market in Shenyang – the largest flower distribution center in the country's northeast gets back running. (Photo: CGTN)
As the coronavirus is gradually being contained in China, authorities nationwide are carefully balancing efforts to control the epidemic and minimize its impact on the economy as millions of people head back to work.
Restrictions have been lifted in many provinces in terms of returning to work. In Shenyang, the capital city of Liaoning province, Yiyuan flower market – the largest flower distribution center in the country's northeast is getting busy.
The market had previously shut down flower and plant trading, tourism and catering services since January 25 and suspended auctions to avoid the risk of infection caused by crowds.
Speaking of the challenges at hand while getting back to work, Zhang Zhonghai, the director of the distribution center, told CGTN: "For the flower business, logistics means everything. The shutdown of logistics service can be fatal considering the shelf life of flowers. This is why we had to make sure the whole logistics chain is smoothed – both the supply and demand side. We coordinated with the local transportation bureaus and worked out the solutions together."
Influenced by the novel coronavirus outbreak, wholesale markets and florist shops in many cities were closed down in the past two months, which led to a sharp drop in sales of fresh cut flowers in the region.
One vendor from the distribution center said sales had dropped up to 80 percent because customers were afraid of virus transmission via delivery, while another distributor told CGTN that they had zero stock available on Valentine's day last month.
Apart from the logistics barrier, getting experienced gardeners back to their posts was another concern. Since most of the gardeners were from southern parts of the country, the distribution center had arranged transportation of all kinds just to bring the workers back safely. Zhang added that the pick-up service was from A to B, and anti-epidemic control was strictly followed though the journey.
Many flower retailers at the center are optimistic about the future, with some predicting that as the trend from retail therapy shifts to digital shopping this year, more people will purchase floral products through e-commerce.