Pandemic hits candle, flower sales

·2 min read

THE coronavirus pandemic has not spared small candle and flower vendors in a cemetery in Cebu City.

November is supposed to be the time when sales would log high. But it’s going to be different this year.

From Oct. 29 to Nov. 4, all public and private cemeteries, memorial parks and columbariums in Cebu City will be temporarily closed pursuant to an Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases resolution. This is to prevent people from swarming these areas and to protect them from possible Covid-19 transmission.

The public can visit public and private cemeteries in Cebu City starting Sept. 26 to 28 and from Nov. 5 to 15, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Before I used to earn P5,000. Now, I’m down to barely P1,000 due to Covid-19,” Fe Maranga, 58, a candle vendor at the Carreta cemetery, told SunStar Cebu in an interview.

Maranga, who has been selling candles for 24 years, also lamented the fact that they were moved to a location which made it harder for customers to reach them. They ended up selling across the road since selling was not allowed inside the cemetery.

“Still, we’re thankful that we’re allowed to sell. But compared to last year, sales have been dismal,” she said.

Maranga started selling last week and noticed the low turnout of people visiting their deceased loved ones.

“Many people are afraid to go out and it’s hard to travel these days,” she said.

Another vendor, Marilou Caindug, 54, wanted to stay in her usual spot near the entrance of the cemetery so customers could spot her easily. But she wasn’t allowed.

“I know we’re at risk but we have complete protective gears like face mask and face shield to protect us,” she said.

Caindug said she makes her own candles, which she sells for P2 a piece, since the price of wax has increased.

The wax sold at the market now retails at P110 a kilo, which is P10 higher from last year’s P100 a kilo.

Besides candles, Caindug also sells flowers. But she only brought a few bundles as she anticipated low foot traffic.

Both vendors hoped that the coronavirus pandemic would end soon so they could go back to their usual business operations. (JOB)