Government Shutdown Could Affect Valentine's Day

The longest government shutdown in history is not only causing slowdowns at some airports across the country, soon it may strike Valentine’s Day too.

Most people don’t realize it, but about nine out of every ten retail flowers come from overseas through Miami International Airport.

Before those flowers are sold at your local grocer or florist, they need to be inspected.

The problem is a number of those federal inspectors are off the job tonight because of the shutdown.

That’s causing delays not just for flowers, but for fruits, vegetables, and toys too.

As TSA agents work another week without pay, security line slow-downs continue at the Miami International Airport.

But behind the scenes is another problem.

Inspectors work for the US Customs and Border Protection and they too are off the job or working without pay.

CBS12 News spoke to the Vice President of the Association of Floral Importers of Florida, Christine Boldt.

Boldt says border protection usually gives them extra inspectors to help with the Valentine’s Day rush.

But this year, due to the shutdown, the Association of Floral Importers of Florida does not have the extra help.

“The biggest obstacle is the fact that there’s no government funding to pay for the additional inspectors that we normally have to help with the inspections in Miami,” says Boldt.

Boldt says that means flowers, produce, and toy imports will be sitting in coolers longer than usual as they wait to get inspected.

CBS12 News is starting to get reports that some imports are spoiling during the wait.

With that waste comes the very real possibility sellers have to hike prices to make up for the loss.


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