Were I to trot out all the excuses for not updating our blog over the last however long (I dare not check), it would no doubt appear that I had a very large dog with an insatiable appetite for homework. This is not the case (although I do have an ever-growing child with an infinite aversion to homework).
Anyway, as you have all no doubt noticed, things have been in a strange state (no, not Kansas) of suspended animation since the Coronavirus lockdown started on 23rd March, and since we are now looking towards reopening on or around Monday 29th June, it seemed as good a moment as any to reanimate this blog and provide some thoughts, and hopefully useful, information on where we’re at and where things might go from here.
First of all, I have to say that lockdown has been absolutely brilliant. Not having had a holiday since November 2018, the global pandemic could not have come at a better time for me personally. I appreciate that some might see this as a rather selfish view, no doubt compounded by the fact that I have, for the most part, been able to do what I normally like to do on holiday: stay inside, read books & avoid people.
Now, with the new environment in which we find ourselves, it is quite possible that we’ll be able to continue to do all three of those things once the shop is open again! In fact, we’re still being positively encouraged to avoid people.
This brings us to some of the logistics of reopening. Those of you who know that shop will be well aware that it is not the most spacious of premises. Waterstones Piccadilly it is not. If we are all still being expected to maintain a six foot distance (I find it helps to think of it as a coffin’s length), it will probably mean that we can accommodate a maximum of two customers in the shop at a time. This is double the number we normally have in at any one time, so we should be able to cope.
Hand sanitiser will be provided at the entrance to the shop, and any further relevant instructions will be prominently displayed. Whichever bookseller is working/reading/avoiding people will be behind a glass or perspex screen. Frankly, this is something I should have done to them years ago.
We will only be accepting card payments when we reopen, although this is only likely to be a temporary move. We are charged by our facilities provider on a percentage basis per transaction, so there is no minimum payment requirement.
We will not have any bags available for purchases, so please remember to bring your own.
Our opening hours are likely to vary, and it possible that the hours we’ve kept for the last four years may need to be revised. Unlike this blog, we do try to keep our hours up to date on various listing sites, but our Facebook page is usually the best place to check for anything that’s happening at short notice – this note should also appear there and on our Twitter feed as well.
We will probably have more information over the next week or so as we finalise our plans, but in the meantime, stay safe and keep reading.