Valentine’s Day weekend comes up roses for Bermuda restaurants and florists
Retailers and restaurants were feeling the love as many residents flush with unspent cash from coronavirus restrictions opted for a little Valentine’s Day extravagance this weekend.
“It’s been crazy,” said Shirmika Brown at El Shaddai Luxury Flowers, in Heron Bay, Southampton, where staff were readying last-minute purchases ahead of the big day.
“People haven’t been spending, so they’re supporting us – it’s ’buy Bermuda’, which is good for us.”
Aside from a drop in sales of carnations, Ms Brown told The Royal Gazette that sales on the day before Valentine’s were “very compatible with previous years”.
After a dismal year for many businesses, Covid-19 failed to put a dent in Valentine’s Day – and neither did the wild card of February 14 falling on a Sunday.
Ms Brown said: “The Sunday has actually been better for us; it’s given us two days for deliveries – we’ll be open on Sunday for walk-ins.”
At Demco Florist in Devonshire, store owner Carmen Phillips was catching her breath after the day’s last load of nearly 200 Valentine’s deliveries went out at 12.30pm.
Sundays, she said, made it “a completely different ballgame”.
Ms Phillips added: “We were a bit worried earlier in the week, because it’s a men’s holiday, so of course they leave it to the last minute.”
The store’s Hamilton division got none of the usual office deliveries – partly due to Sunday and partly because “people are working from home”, she said.
“We had a drastic reduction in what we call walking deliveries in Hamilton. But we’ve seen an uptick in truck deliveries.”
As with Mother’s Day and Christmas, many residents opted to mark the special day at home.
Ms Phillips said: “Because there’s not a lot to do, people are taking the holiday seriously.
“Because of the way we’re living right now, a lot of people want to make the day a special occasion.
“One gentleman said they couldn’t go away, so he wanted almost 100 roses.”
The White Horse Pub and Restaurant in St George’s sold out of tables all day and all night on Valentine’s Day though capacity was at 50 per cent according to Covid-19 restrictions.
Dennie O’Connor, the establishment’s new owner and managing director, said yesterday: “We are getting lots of good local support, island support.
“We didn’t do any specific advertising for Valentine’s Day, we have just been blessed. We have DJ Bubbles playing and we have a saxophonist doing a performance on stage this evening.
“We have majority couples in the evening, during the day it’s been more families.”
Iqubal Mohamad, restaurant supervisor at Port O Call on Front Street, in Hamilton, said yesterday that the restaurant had dropped its capacity from 27 to 14 tables with Covid-19 restrictions in place, adding that it had been booked out for Valentine’s Day.
“We are always full because of having fewer tables, especially on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays. We usually close on Sundays but we opened tonight because of Valentine’s Day and will close tomorrow instead to give our staff a break.
“We had to let a lot of people down. Everybody has a limitation and people are trying to get in - we can’t help it.
“We are offering a special three-course meal as well as special cocktails.
“Covid makes it difficult for our staff - we have to mention to them about the curfew. We have to follow the rules.”
Luca Mezzapesa, manager at Bonefish Bar and Grill in Dockyard said business was “fantastic” despite limited tables.
“We are very, very busy - we have been sold out all day today. I have to send people to our other restaurants - we are doing very well.”