|At the Book Cellar in Chicago
Indie booksellers nationwide are scrambling to deal with Thursday's surprise CDC guidelines update that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying six feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
Booksellers, like other retailers, had to respond immediately so their customers would know what the new guidelines meant in terms of their in-store experience going into the weekend. On social media, indies found a variety of ways to convey the message:
Reads & Company, Phoenixville, Pa.: "Fair to say, the CDC caught businesses off guard. We didn't sign up to be bouncers and interrogators of the vaxxed and unvaxxed. We just want to run the best little community bookshop in the world. Thank you for your patience and support as we continue to navigate our way through this, together."
The Book Cellar, Chicago, Ill.: "In any retail scenario, there are always going to be people we interact with who do not operate in good faith. And it is, quite frankly, anxiety-inducing. We don't want to fight. We want to share our love of books."
Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, Wash.: "There's light at the end of the tunnel, but for now we are continuing to require that face masks be worn in our store for the safety of our customers and staff."
Blue Cypress Books , New Orleans, La.: "Hey ya’ll--for now, Blue Cypress Books will still be requiring masks.... As more of the city becomes vaccinated, we'll continuously reevaluate our policy and let you know when we're ready to stop requiring masks. We hope to see your smiling (under-your-mask) faces soon!"
|At Napa Bookmine
Greedy Reads, Baltimore, Md.: "We're getting there; please be patient and kind while we negotiate these next few steps. In short, masks still required."
Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers, Columbus, Ohio: "Safety is our top priority. All of our booksellers are fully vaccinated, but we're still going to be masking up here at the store to protect the little ones."
Napa Bookmine, Napa, Calif.: "Hi Bookminers! We saw the CDC's update re: masks and just wanted to let you know that we'll be erring on the side of caution for the time being."
Savoy Bookshop and Café, Westerly, R.I.: "We can't wait to see all of your smiling faces (fully!) again soon. However, for the time being, we ask that you still mask up when you come into our bookstores.... Thank you to everyone who has supported us in so many ways during this unprecedented time."
Roundabout Books, Bend, Ore.: "For the safety and comfort of everyone in the bookshop, we ask our customers to continue wearing masks in the store during May. We believe the next few weeks will be a transitional period and want to be mindful of safety, especially for our youngest customers, while giving everyone the time and space needed to adjust and finish the vaccination process."
Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich.: "Things sure can change quickly! While the Health Department has stated that Michiganders who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to wear a mask, for the safety and comfort of our customers and staff, masks will continue to be required at Nicola's Books for the time being."
The Book Jewel, Los Angeles, Calif.: "Hi friends, we are aware of the new CDC guidelines. However, since we have no way of verifying who has been vaccinated, we ask for patience and understanding from our guests. Thank you in advance! We're in this together!"
Blue Willow Books, Houston, Tex.: "Hi, friends! We are still requiring a mask for browsing. This is what we feel safe and comfortable with, and we appreciate your understanding."
|At Second Flight Books
Second Flight Books, Lafayette, Ind.: "We heard what the CDC said, but our staff will continue to wear masks for the time being, and we ask that you do, too.... We trust that you're all adults and can handle the slight inconvenience of wearing a mask for the time being."
BookBar, Denver, Colo.: "Please be patient as we work on updating our mask policy in accordance with CDC, state, and city guidelines.... We're as eager as everyone to get back to normal but safety and science are our first priorities. No exceptions. Not a one."
Some booksellers were taking steps toward mask-free retail, including:
Prairie Fox Books, Ottawa, Ill.: "We would absolutely LOVE to see smiles again, and we will welcome you in per guidelines. Our vaccinated staff may be maskless, but if this makes you uncomfortable, please ask and we will mask up immediately."
Next Chapter Bookstore, Barre, Vt.: "Who watched Governor Scott's Press conference this morning? We are excited to welcome fully vaccinated shoppers and their smiles without masks!"
On the lighter side, many indies shared writer Molly Templeton's alternative guideline: "The CDC says fully vaccinated people can keep buying new books even if they already have more unread books than any person could possibly read in one lifetime."