At a time when bookstores are weighing the health risks of reopening during a pandemic with the compounding financial consequences of remaining closed—a decision that has been especially fraught for independent bookstores—Barnes & Noble is choosing to forge ahead.
Of the chain’s 625 stores across the country, 500 are operating with curbside pickup, and 31 have reopened to in-person shoppers in Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. There are plans to reopen another 20 stores this week in Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi, Montana, and Oklahoma, according to Publishers Weekly.
The company posted a memo to its website outlining the steps it’s taking to keep reopened stores safe, including “enhanced cleaning,” reducing store hours, and creating additional requirements for booksellers, who will have to wear masks and take their temperature before every shift. Barnes & Noble has taken similar measures at its distribution centers, where at least several employees have fallen sick since the start of the pandemic; earlier this month, the company confirmed that two New Jersey warehouse workers had died of complications from the virus.
[via Publishers Weekly]