Normally our Thursday blog highlights “New Arrivals & Old Favorites”… books that we’ve just unpacked from our publisher partners and wholesale partners. We’ll post that blog this week on Saturday. It seemed best for today’s blog to thank everyone who has supported us by reserving appointment slots, and to advise people how our day-to-day business proceeds from here.
We know everyone is getting a bit antsy about how many retail stores aren’t completely open for normal business activity. The whole world is coping with the COVID-19 epidemic and monitoring attempts to eradicate the disease. So, as we write this here at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside, we understand and you are not alone. But, patience is essential for the safety of our customers.
Last Friday, Apple Inc. announced they are re-closing eleven US stores, and today made the announcement of quite a few more. Today, the State of Texas announced it has halted its re-opening plans after a spike in COVID-19 cases. Arizona and Florida have had substantial jumps in reported cases since they recently proceeded on re-opening business in their states. Where sufficient precautions weren’t taken and aren’t being taken now, there has been a cost.
We at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester are determined not to increase that cost by failing to use proper caution and the procedure set out by law. We can do business, we value your custom, and we appreciate you working with us and this situation to keep everyone safe. There’s a right way to proceed and we’re trying to do it that way. That is why we will remain appointment-only until the state of Massachusetts declares the opening of Phase 3, for your health and the health of our staff.
By being months into this situation, all of us have learned a little something about coping in these difficult times. We are genuinely concerned about the health and safety of our customers, and, of course, our great staff. In asking you to call ahead for appointments, if you want to come into the store to shop, please know that we need time between groups of customers to clean sufficiently. This is simply the best thing to do. It’s also actually the law at this time. If we need to allow a group in first who scheduled an appointment, and ask you to wait or to come back with an appointment later, it’s all about avoiding the spread of COVID-19, and sticking to the rules in the law. For now, if you need to come into the store, it’s always best to please call ahead. And, when it’s your turn, you’ll have the run of the place!
In re-opening, we can’t afford to hire someone to station at the doors all day long to monitor how many people are in the store at one time. It wouldn’t do much to increase how many people are allowed in at one time anyway, if we could do this, but to keep our pricing modest, we had to decide a Door Dragon was not the best solution for us, as it isn’t best for many others. In fairness, while we’re allowed to have a certain capacity by law, scheduling appointments and keeping groups (like families) separate, is actually safer, in case someone with the virus actually does enter the store… we get the chance to clean and disinfect between appointments, and prevent some possible contamination. That seems the best way to go. This is what works for our operation and for your safety at this stage of economic re-opening.
In spite of the limitations, we’ve had many customers coming in and making up for lost time in shopping for things to read. We’re very, very grateful so many are choosing to work with us, and are filling our appointment books. This epidemic has sometimes taken away choices in how to do things. We chose to re-open, though. We continue to choose to try our best to satisfy our customers, within the imposed rules. The situation is incredibly challenging. We understand as much as anyone how patience is precious these days, and we’re all hoping to get back to more of a normal situation soon. But, that situation doesn’t exist here and now. In dealing with it, in partnership with our customers, we wanted to say a little more of what’s going on, and make sure you know all of you have our gratitude for seeing our best attempts on your behalf are always going to be made.
We look forward to hearing from you to schedule an in-store shopping appointment slot or a curbside pickup time, to purchase new titles and old favorites by mail order.
Thank you for your support and your understanding.