Urs Meier, florist.ch

«The Federal Council has reacted reasonably»

Mister Meier, how did the florists react to the lockdown?
Ambivalently. They understood that something had to be done to counter this bad situation. But they felt that closing the business threatened their existence. The fixed costs, such as rent, wages, etc., are still running - and one has to live too.

Meanwhile, many are struggling and implementing new ideas. But of course, this is difficult, because big orders like weddings and events are gone and the shop is closed.

What have you done as florist.ch manager?
I have studied the regulations and statements of the federal government and the media in detail. I quickly found out that, according to my interpretation, at least deliveries and shopping at flower markets were still possible under certain circumstances. But of course, we needed legal certainty. That is why we contacted the responsible authorities and had everything confirmed in writing, point by point.

What did you do with the knowledge you gained?
Of course, we passed it on immediately, not only to our members, but to the entire green sector, including flower markets and Fleurop.

So, florists have a better chance than hairdressers, for example?
Yes, we and all those who can do business online and/or on order actually have better chances. But it is also fortunate that this possibility exists. Because for all those people sitting at home now, flowers are important as a splash of color.

But grocery stores and pharmacies are open. Isn't that enough?
The uncertainty and fear in the population is understandably great. In addition, they are constantly being fed, with news and images that are difficult to process. So, one would like to see some normality back: a positive sign, a ray of light, a little cohesion. Flowers have a special place here. All the more so because you can no longer simply visit each other.

Do florists take advantage of this opportunity?
These are not normal sales. But the fixed costs are there. And even the small amount helps to reduce the loss of sales a little. In addition, one or two employees can work at least part-time. Last but not least, it also helps flower producers, who can sell at least a small part of their flowers and don't have to compost everything.

Do you think what the Federal Council has decided is right?
Yes. I think it reacted prudently and appropriately and also tried to keep collateral damage to a minimum. The pressure on him is enormous.

What do you see as the greatest challenges?
florist.ch is turning 100 this year. We wanted to celebrate this in June with a particularly atmospheric anniversary party in Ticino. Now we had to postpone the whole thing until 2021, which makes us sad. The General Assembly 2020 will be held on 19 August in the normal way. Nevertheless, the only thing this year that reminds us of our centenary is a special flower stamp. You can order or buy it at the post office from 7 May. And since I am a philatelist myself, I can only recommend this beautiful stamp.

What do you hope for after Corona?
I hope that the solidarity that is already perceptible will continue and that there will be more mutual support. In any case, we will continue to do everything to support the specialist trade and the green sector by providing valid information on short-time work, bridging loans, rent reductions, etc. We are also convinced that this time, in which almost nothing works without online portals, will help to make digitization more enjoyable even for those who have so far been rather critical or even hostile to it. In this respect, we are convinced that after Corona, both home deliveries and pick-up options will be used much more than last year.

Thank you very much for the interview, Mister Meier.

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