Cars lined up Saturday at a wholesale market in Kawasaki near Tokyo as customers were set to receive carnation or gerbera flowers for Mother's Day in a drive-through service to minimize people-to-people contact amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The service, which is also aimed at supporting the flower industry hit hard by a plunge in demand due to event cancellations, has proved popular among people seeking comfort from flowers as they are compelled to stay at home due to the pandemic.
Customers can order Mother's Day flowers on the website of 2020 Smile Flower Project, run by a retail chain operator with the help of markets and wholesalers, and make payments online. At markets, staff load them into car trunks.
Options are also available for customers to have the flowers delivered.
"I heard about the plight of the flower industry, so I chose this service to buy a gift for my mom," said Tomoya Hatori, a 22-year-old from Yokohama who bought 30 carnations. "(The flower gift) would relieve the stress of staying at home," his 52-year-old mother Yuko said.
In another drive-through service offered by a fruit and vegetable wholesaler, some 2,000 carnations were offered for free to customers at sites to receive such items as rice and various vegetable sets in Tokyo's Ota Ward and other areas.
The vegetables were originally intended for sale to restaurants but are being sold to individual customers due to closures of eateries amid the state of emergency over the virus epidemic.
"I hope families who usually refrain from going out will become happy" by receiving the carnations, said 40-year-old Atsushi Takekawa, president of Food Supply, the company operating the drive-through vegetable shop.