Where did 140 million Dutch tulips go? Crushed by coronavirus

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The Netherlands, which has recorded more than 24,400 cases of coronavirus and 2,643 deaths, has implemented a moderate social policy to combat the spread of the virus without entering into a total ban. Schools, restaurants, bars, museums, sports facilities and gymnasiums are closed until April 28. Most events of more than 30 people were banned until June 1.

However, small stores, such as florists and garden stores, can remain open as long as customers maintain a social distance of 1.5 meters (just under 5 feet) from each other and store employees.

While producers and distributors who mainly serve the local market are still able to sell flowers and plants on the domestic market, flower companies that depend on international trade are worse off.

Jan de Boer, managing director and owner of Barendsen, a global flower export company based in the Dutch village of Aalsmeer, said that he has so far lost 90% of his seasonal income. He usually has 60 full-time employees at this time of year, and now, he says, works for only six people. The Dutch government is paying these salaries, he said, so it hasn’t hurt his business yet.

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