PEI

P.E.I. pandemic restrictions boost local delivery services for holiday season

Some Island businesses are busy with local deliveries this holiday season due to pandemic protocols in the province.

Local flower deliveries, parcels being bussed throughout Maritimes

Christmas centerpieces are the most popular item being sent from Flower Buds to Island homes, in lieu of family being able to make it to celebrations, says Vikki Sweeney, who co-owns the business. (Tony Davis/CBC)

Some Island businesses are busy with local deliveries this holiday season due to pandemic protocols in the province.

Business at Flower Buds in Charlottetown picked up following Tuesday's announcement that all people arriving on P.E.I. will have to self-isolate for at least four days, with the quarantine timeline depending on vaccination status.

The announcement hasn't hurt business at the flower shop at all, says Vikki Sweeney, who co-owns Flower Buds.

"The ones that are isolated are begging us to deliver it to them or to their family members that they were going to go and celebrate Christmas with," she said.

"We're trying our best to do whatever we can do to accommodate them all."

The business did have to take the phone off the hook for a few hours Wednesday morning to catch up with orders, Sweeney says. (Tony Davis/CBC)

Many are deciding to send flowers "in lieu" of being able to visit their loved ones during the holiday season, Sweeney said.

"We've seen quite a pick up in the last couple days. A lot of pickups have been changed to deliveries. A lot of people were going to pick up centerpieces and take them and now they want them delivered," she said. "We're a bit frantic."

Christmas centerpieces are the big driver for the business right now, arrangements including things such as pine and fir boughs, magnolia, cones, berries, along with Carolina sapphire and B.C. cedar.

"We have lots of product. We have lots of stuff in the fridge to pick up," she said.

While the business did have to take the phone off the hook for a few hours Wednesday morning to catch up to orders and some staff had to stay until midnight the past few nights, Sweeney said, orders are still being taken — but cautioned the shop would be closed on Christmas Eve.

'Let us get the job done and play Santa Claus for you'

Things are busy too for those shipping parcels around Atlantic Canada. Maritime Bus offers same-day parcel delivery. Now that more people have to stay put in the region, Maritime Bus passengers have been replaced with parcels.

Martime Bus had to add to its fleet in order to get parcels across the region in time for Christmas Day. (Tony Davis/CBC)

Maritime Bus even needed to add some reinforcements to its fleet of buses delivering across the region.

"We were so nervous that we could not live up to the expectations of our customers for delivery that we went out and rented a 26-foot U-Haul truck, thank goodness they had one for us," said Mike Cassidy, who owns Maritime Bus.

"We have that truck traveling on and off P.E.I. just so we can get parcels off this Island and bring parcels back onto this Island."

After the announcement of increased restrictions made Tuesday, Cassidy said, over 1,000 packages were dropped off to bus terminals in the Maritimes.

Mike Cassidy said the service is sending its final run across the Maritimes at noon hour on Christmas Eve — but if people want to make sure their deliveries get where they need to on time they should try and drop their package off before 1 p.m. on Thursday. (Tony Davis/CBC)

"Our job right now, for the next two and half days, we have to make sure those parcels of love are delivered," he said.

"Let us get the job done and play Santa Claus for you."

The announcement caught many off guard. Cassidy was expecting a busy season, but the rush came quickly. He said that is due in part to the announcement causing changes so quickly — last year the province was in a circuit breaker in December allowing people to plan a bit better.

Cassidy said the service is sending its final run across the Maritimes at noon hour on Christmas Eve — but if people want to make sure their deliveries get where they need to on time they should try and drop their package off before 1 p.m. on Thursday.

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