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Florists still open to help brighten lockdown for those stuck at home

Florists in St George and Sutherland Shire have been hard at work during lockdown to brighten the days of housebound loved ones.

With people unable to visit family and friends or celebrate special occasions such as birthdays in person, many have turned to florists to help show they care.

But the list of retail premises required to close as part of strengthened restrictions caused some confusion amongst residents and even florists, who were initially unsure if they could even keep trading.

When news first broke last Saturday that retailers would need to close due to lockdown restrictions, florist Janelle Wood did not know if they were even allowed to keep trading.

"We were not sure at first but then found out we could operate with pick up or click and collect," said Ms Wood, who operates Harperwood Floral Design at Cronulla with her business partners and cousins, Lyndall Berrecloth and Danielle Kidwell.

"Our door is locked. We moved our flowers to the front window so customers can see them but no one can come into the shop.

"We have had a lot of phone calls of 'I didn't know if you would be there'."

Ms Wood said while they had been taking orders, it was not as busy as last lockdown, something she blamed on the financial hardship some people were facing and uncertainty over how long restrictions would last.

"People still want to send flowers for special occasions like birthdays or to cheer people up," she said.

"People still die and people still have babies. But people do not seem to want to spend as much.

"There is no JobKeeper. It is uncertain. We do not know how long this is going to go for."

Ms Wood said they had lost a lot of business due to the cancellation of functions and events such as birthday parties and dinners.

She encouraged people to send flowers to loved ones during this difficult time.

"It's a nice thing to do to cheer someone up or celebrate occasions when you can't see someone in person." she said.