Barnes & Noble currently has 31 of its bookstores opened to shoppers in 10 states and expects to reopen another 20 outlets by the end of the week, a spokesperson told PW. The open stores are located in Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. The stores set to reopen are in Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi, Montana, and Oklahoma will reopen by the end of the week. In addition, some 500 stores are open for curbside pick up, the spokesperson added. In all, B&N operates approximately 625 stores throughout the U.S.
The bookseller has outlined the safety measures is was taking at each open store, including limiting the number of customers shopping in the store at any one time, enforcing social distancing measures, erecting plexiglass barriers, checking employee temperatures prior to each shift, requiring staff to wear facemasks, and maintaining a specific area of the store where customers can drop off browsed books to be sanitized before they are returned to shelves. Cafes will be open for to-go orders and pick-up for online orders.
The company began closing stores in March as the coronavirus pandemic spread, leading B&N to close stores to comply with government restrictions. The store closures resulted in a dramatic sales decline which forced B&N to lay off or furlough thousands of employees.
At the time of the closures, B&N CEO James Daunt said they would take the opportunity to evaluate store decor, stock, and organization, all of which the company said have been updated at each store over the last several weeks.