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Waterstones to put its books under 72-hour quarantine

In the UK, bookselling chain Waterstones will put its books under a 72-hour quarantine after they have been handled by browsing shoppers, reports the Guardian.

As part of Waterstones’ plan to reopen its stores once restrictions lift, shoppers will be asked to set aside any book they touch on trolleys, which will then be put into storage for at least 72 hours to protect customers from the spread of Covid-19.

Waterstones CEO James Daunt said that while the company has been advised that the virus can’t survive for long on cardboard and paper, the measure is one of many ‘extra precautions’ each store will take. Other measures include installing Perspex screens in front of tills, limiting customer numbers, implementing a one-way system in stores and keeping in-store cafes closed.

Waterstones has reported an online sales increase of more than 300% since lockdown forced the closure of all UK bookstores at the end of March. Daunt said the closures have affected the sales of new books, making browsing and following through on staff recommendations more difficult. He added that Waterstones is preparing for further change as high streets reopen.

‘The expectation is that in most retailers behaviour will change,’ Daunt said. ‘People will generally be coming out to shop with greater purpose, they are not just coming to while away the hours but generally they are going to pick up books.’

There is no date set for the reopening of Waterstones stores, which will depend on the UK government’s planned gradual relaxation of lockdown.


Category: International news