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Coronavirus: Île Bizard gives out free plants, flowers and vegetables — while physical distancing

Coronavirus outbreak: Plant and flower shops seeing a business boom as Montrealers use their time at home to spruce up their gardens amid COVID-19 pandemic
Coronavirus outbreak: Plant and flower shops seeing a business boom as Montrealers use their time at home to spruce up their gardens amid COVID-19 pandemic

Île Bizard celebrated its annual horticultural day on Saturday by giving out plants, vegetables and other goods.

But things are a little different this year.

“We are going to continue as is, but we are going to follow the steps of social distancing and make sure we wash our hands and cover up, but we are still going to go to the grocery stores and we are still going to buy plants,” Île Bizard resident Stephanie Chan said.

The borough has changed the way they distribute plants: residents arrive by car, park in front, show ID and then pop their trunk. Attendants take their orders and then fill their cars.

“We had to say that we thought about it, we did not know, should we do it or should not?” says Normand Marinacci, Île Bizard mayor.

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“We do it and we found a good way of doing it. You can see by the attendance, people were waiting for that.”

READ MORE: Gardening can help you get through coronavirus isolation — here’s how to start

Global News reached out to several other garden centres but they refused our request for an interview because they said they’re flooded with customers.

“People like to come especially during this pandemic,” Marinacci said. “I see people very happy to come out and come do something.”

The borough mayor said it was important to be here to help people get their garden supplies while maintaining physical distancing.

“It’s a good feeling because it’s very community-orientated and people just, Hi, and thank you, thank you, have a nice summer,” Marinacci said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty as businesses slowly reopened.

But workers here are thrilled so many people have turned out.

READ MORE: The benefits of growing a garden during the COVID-19 crisis

“Considering we were not offering the compost, the wood chips, there were no information booths this year and there were over 300 people that came in today — I think it is a huge success for the day,” says Trevor Lane, parks and horticultural foremen of Île Bizard.

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“It went better than could’ve been expected,” he added. “It went really well, we did have to modify our practices greatly in order to secure the safety of staff and citizens.”