How to show you care without putting anyone at risk
Taking your mom or mom-figure out for a lavish Mother?s Day brunch is out of the question this year, but sending a bouquet of flowers can be a safe way to show you care ? provided you take some precautions.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says there?s no evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, can be transmitted from produce in grocery stories, ?so I wouldn?t expect it would be any different with cut flowers,? says Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, associate dean of global health sciences at the University of California, San Diego, and author of The Perfect Predator.
?Nevertheless,? she adds, ?I would handle any wrapping with care. Wash your hands afterward with soap and water for 20 seconds. And throw out the wrappers right away.?
Tara C. Smith, PhD, a professor of epidemiology at the Kent State University College of Public Health, points out in an email that for most arrangements, ?the vase or container would probably be what most people are touching rather than the flowers themselves (besides the florist).? Lysol, bleach wipes, or other disinfectants can be used to wipe it down, depending on the material. If a bouquet comes wrapped, she recommends discarding the paper and plastic and moving the flowers to a clean container.
?For either situation, I?d definitely suggest washing hands after touching any deliveries,? she says.
If you decide to send a bouquet, Strathdee suggests using a reputable florist whose staff uses personal protective equipment, which she also recommends for grocery stores.
The blooms themselves ?should be okay,? but she adds, ?I wouldn?t be sticking my nose right into any flowers.? Likewise, Smith says, ?For the flowers themselves, I probably wouldn?t put my nose on them to smell them just in case.?
Doing so is just a precaution ? there haven?t been any studies specifically on SARS-CoV-2 and freshly cut flowers ? but Strathdee notes that ?this virus is known to be quote-unquote sticky, so it does persist for a while.? Not the most heartwarming thing to add to your Mother?s Day card, but it won?t go unappreciated.