Waterstones will start to reopen its stores in England from Monday, after closing for nearly three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The bookseller has outlined a number of measures to ensure the safety of customers and employees alike. Waterstones said given the varying size of branches, it may limit the number of customers shopping at any one time.
It has also introduced so-called “Browsing Trollies”, which will be positioned next to tills where customers can safely leave a book or item they have handled but do not want to buy. At the end of each day, stock from the trollies will be stored away for 3 days until the threat of virus transmission has been eliminated.
Hand sanitiser stations have been introduced for each shop, allowing customers to sanitise upon and entry and stations will also be placed by entrances to lifts. Waterstones has also said it has suggested staff wear face visors at all times and will provide them with face masks to wear at their own discretion.
The Prime Minister confirmed this week that all non-essential retail in England could reopen from 15 June, as the UK slowly eases out of the lockdown which was imposed in late March.
Government guidance insists social distancing guidelines are still adhered to. Waterstones is providing signage which will request two metre social distancing between staff and customers.
As part of these measures, the bookseller has requested customers use card payments, with rare exceptions including paper vouchers nearing their expiry date, or where customers have no access to contactless technology.
A number of household names will start to return to the “new normal” from Monday, including Marks & Spencer’s clothing stores and a select number of John Lewis stores.
Department store Harrods is also reopening its doors on Monday, and has said it will monitor how many customers it has in store at any one time.