RIYADH: There may have been less romance and more coronavirus in the air for the past year, but Saudi couples are undeterred — it’s Valentine’s Day, and they’re going for it big time.
Flower shops, chocolate stores and restaurants, even with food available only for delivery, report booming business as love conquers all.
Khalid Omar, 28, who set up Dream Flowers in Jubail Industrial City in 2017, has doubled his sales in the past four days. And not a moment too soon, after the damage caused by the coronavirus lockdown, with the shop closed for three months in 2020.
“The COVID-19 pandemic hindered all local business projects for everyone,” he told Arab News. “With the lockdown, we did not receive so many customers. Production stopped during the lockdown because we could not import fresh flowers twice a week. This affected us greatly.
“Days such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Teacher’s Day and so forth have a positive impact on sales. We increased our profit in just four days. This is our season.”
With in-restaurant dining strictly forbidden, the time-honored tradition of eating out with your partner on Valentine’s Day is off the menu this year — but enterprising restaurants are offering special deliveries of a romantic meal for two.
The popular Japanese hotspot Kampai has a Valentine’s Day box of sushi rolls and salmon sashimi, complete with a red rose and a bottle of non-alcoholic Merlot to share with your significant other, while Casper and Gambini’s will supply a heart-shaped cake in chocolate or red velvet.
Meanwhile, Saudis have been telling Arab News what their ideal Valentine’s gift would look like. “There is nothing I would love more than a cake and a card from my children so my wife and I can celebrate with them,” said Mohammed Al-Qahtani.
Hafsa Ayub said: “A box of chocolates. I don’t care if it’s a cliché, because I still like receiving them.”