Bookstore Browsing, Pandemic Style
We're getting pretty close to opening our doors again, so we wanted to give you an idea of what in-store browsing might look like in this new social landscape. The critical thing is to keep our staff and customers safe, so even though browsing might not be as laid back as it used to be, we're still doing our best to offer a true Brilliant Books experience for readers of all ages.
Since no plan, no matter how well thought-out, survives first contact with implementation, please be aware that we will be making changes to these policies as we learn what works best. We'll keep you updated through signage, emails, and posts on our website and social media as things continue to evolve.
Our plan makes use of the guidance offered by the CDC in a number of ways. Many of these aren't aspects that apply to you as customers, but rather to our employees, like limiting shared equipment and required check-ins at the start of every shift. Others, however, are things that will affect your browsing experience. Here's our plan for now:
Encourage social distancing:
We're going to do this by making sure that the number of patrons in the store is limited at all times. That will give everyone space to spread out and browse without close contact. Additionally, we're going to limit our children's section to one family unit at a time to make it easier for families to browse for young readers.
We will also have designated shopping hours for high-risk groups, including elderly and immunocompromised booklovers. Access to the store will be extra-limited during these hours, so if you're particularly concerned, please join us then!
Take precautions and practice good hygiene:
All customers will be required to wear a mask or face covering while in the store. This is to protect not only your fellow booklovers, but also our booksellers. Masks also limit the risk for potential contamination on our books. The CDC does not currently recommend sanitizing paper materials like cardboard and books, since not only is exposure to the virus on surfaces relatively low risk, but paper is particularly inhospitable to the virus. Of course, with masks, there's little risk of contamination to begin with. We're glad that simple action can do so much to keep everyone safe!
We're also asking that everyone use hand sanitizer upon entering the store. Unfortunately, we do not have a public restroom space that would allow for handwashing, but we will provide sanitizer at the door. If you prefer to wear gloves while in public, that's fine, but please don a new pair upon entering the store to ensure your hands are clean. We will not have gloves available for customers in-store.
Changes in the store:
You'll see a few obvious changes in our setup, and some less obvious ones as well. Since lingering isn't an option right now, our couch is no more. We will eventually be bringing back some cozy reading places, but for now, we're limiting the amount of seating in the store so we can make sure high-touch surfaces are regularly cleaned. Similarly, our stuffed animal friends and train table have been removed from our kids' zone. We know this will be disappointing to many young readers, but we hope they can understand it's only temporary. We are looking at offering some other fun options for kids to stay entertained while other family members are browsing, including photos with our life-sized Dog Man! Stay tuned for more information on that front.
We've also removed one of our front register computers and added acrylic shields. Our touchless scanner allows you to scan your books yourself, so neither you nor the booksellers need to handle any equipment, and you're the only one to touch your books. We've marked the floor to indicate a six-foot radius around our checkout space, so please be mindful of other customers and wait until the space is clear before approaching to check out.
We want to help you discover as many awesome new books as possible without having to spend extra time combing the shelves, so throughout the store, you'll find new displays curated by our booksellers. The topics range from current events, like our Black Lives Matter display, to local interest like our Great Lakes table, to displays curated by individual booksellers based on their current favorites. Of course, our regular sections are all well-stocked and ready to be browsed as well, but do feel free to ask our booksellers for help in locating and retrieving books you might be looking for. We're happy to help you make your trip as efficient and enjoyable as possible.
Curbside and shipping:
Just because our doors will be open doesn't mean our shipping and curbside services will be going away. Our back door will be exclusively dedicated to curbside orders, and as our capacity increases with more staff on-site, we'll be able to fill orders in a matter of hours and allow for same-day pickup of items on our shelves. So don't hesitate to get online or give us a call to place an order. As always, shipping and curbside are both complimentary!
While we know some of these changes are inconvenient, we feel it's a small price to pay to keep our customers, staff (and their livelihoods!) safe. We'll continue to adapt and adjust these procedures to follow CDC guidelines, state regulations, and general best practice. We've made it this far thanks to our incredible customers and our dedicated staff, and we're determined to take this next step cautiously, even though we can't wait to see you all again.
Our official reopening date is June 16th!