The Mr B’s doors will reopen on 22nd June 2020 at 9.30 am. Poetically, that’s almost precisely 3 months from the day they closed back in March and almost exactly 14 years from the very first time they opened.
Initially we will be open both for the collection of pre-orders as well as for dropping in to purchase or enquire about books. The shop as a whole though will not be open for browsing. Here are the details of how it’s all going to work.
Initially we will be open from 9.30am – 5.30pm Monday -Saturday and from 11.30am – 4.30pm on Sundays. We’re opening half an hour later and closing half an hour earlier than our “normal” (remember that?) opening hours so that we can clean and re-shelve front-of-shop displays at the beginning and end of each day without compromising social distancing.
How Shopping at Mr B’s Will Look and Feel
Initially the full scope of the shop will not be open for browsing. Instead we are opening just the three ground floor rooms at the front of the shop.
Thinking about this reopening there are two things that are important to us. First, that everyone involved feels safe and comfortable when inside Mr B’s. And secondly that – even if it’s a bit odd and different at first – your visit still contains some of the magic of the full Mr B’s experience and that you go away feeling you’ve reconnected with the shop, our booksellers and with the books that bind us.
With that in mind, when you’re reading all of the information below on the safety steps and plans we’ve made, also know that when you come through the door you’ll be met not just by hand-sanitiser, but with our usual passionate enthusiasm for books!
Mr B’s Order Collection Room of Reading Delights
Just when you thought our name couldn’t get any longer?!
The door at No. 13 John Street (the newer part of the shop that opened in 2019) will lead you to the counter for collecting books that you’ve already ordered by phone (01225 331155), email (email@example.com) or through our website www.mrbsemporium.com. In preparation, the “collect” option on our website will turn back on early next week.
Whenever you place an order by one of those methods and ask to collect it from the shop, we will let you know as soon as your order is ready and then you can come along at your convenience to collect it.
This side of the shop will only be open up to the counter area, beyond that will be just for the team’s use as they grab your pre-ordered books for you. The front few bookshelves around the counter will however be crammed with displays of some of the incredible books that have been released during the last 3 months. If you get tempted, you will be more than welcome to purchase any of those additional books whilst collecting your pre-order.
We will limit the number of people in this side of the shop at any one time and we’d ask for your help in doing that. There’ll be a marked queuing area outside as well for those waiting to come into collect their order.
Mr B’s Ordering and Enquiring Rooms of Reading Delights
OK, we know. But desperate times call for desperate temporary name extensions.
We will be opening the door at No. 15 John Street for the first time to give us a one-way flow through this side of the shop to maximise safety and space for you all. Again there’ll be a limit on the number of customers that can be in the shop at any one time and there’ll be a clearly marked queue zone outside in case of busy times.
There will be signage inside the shop leading you from this door through the “room with the bath” and towards the main counter area in the next room. You’ll be able to see and select books displayed in both rooms and once at the counter you’ll be able to ask for any other book that you might be after. If the book is elsewhere in the shop one of our booksellers will go and find it for you, and if we don’t have it we can order it for you.
The books we’ll have on display in the accessible rooms of the shop will cross all genres and will focus on the new and the “forgotten generation” of books published between March and May this year.
Once you’ve concluded your visit you’ll be able to safely leave the shop by our original entrance at No. 14 (which will be exit-only for the time being).
Looking after one another
We’re doing all we can to look after and reassure you, and all of our booksellers, as we reopen the shop floor. Here are some of the steps we’re taking:
- Hand-sanitiser will be available as you enter and leave the shop so please do make use of it. We will have disposable gloves available for customers who would prefer to wear them whilst in the shop.
- Our booksellers working on the shop floor will be wearing face coverings and we have erected screens at the counters which are nowhere near as depressing and dystopian as they sound.
- We will be following whatever social distancing rules and recommendations are in place – so initially that means aiming to keep that 2m distance wherever possible (even if it sometimes it needs a bit of sensible estimation in an old labyrinthine space like ours).
- The key areas and surfaces of contact will be cleaned at the start and end of the day and we want to reassure you that the same will be happening behind the scenes and that all office work is taking place in as distanced and safe a way as possible.
- Our book-selling team has separated into two separate bubbles to minimise the number of team-members each bookseller is in regular contact with. We’ll continue to have some of the team working from home wherever that is possible.
- We are encouraging payment by card rather than cash wherever possible.
- We have read (many times) the government guidance for shops on working safely during Covid-19 and have completed the required preparations and considered all additional suggested steps in order to complete our risk assessment. We have also considered areas where that guidance might fall short or lack detail in order to be satisfied for ourselves that we are doing what we can to look after all of you and our team.
- We would ask all of our customers to follow whatever government guidance exists from to time when judging whether and how to visit Mr B’s and the Bath high street generally. We are now completing the process of reorganising stock and simultaneously cleaning and preparing the entire shop in advance of opening the doors on the 22nd. We are so looking forward to welcoming you back again.
What will come next?
Our tentative plan is to open the full shop for browsing from 5th July, 2020 but we will be keeping this under careful review as we listen to what our customers and staff feel comfortable with and how government guidance proceeds. From the same date we will look to recommence other services that we’ve had to suspend, such as gift wrap and physical versions of our various vouchers.
At some point during July we also aim to recommence our Reading Spas but we don’t feel we can fix the precise date when this will be possible just yet. If you had a booking for a Reading Spa during the Covid-19 period then we will be getting back in touch during the weeks ahead to sort out re-booking or alternative arrangements for your gift. Thank you for your patience and understanding whilst we organise this.
Shopping Online and Remotely
Of course none of the above will interrupt our ability to keep sending you books to your home and looking after your bookish needs at a distance if you don’t plan to visit the shop or are not able to do so.
To buy or enquire about any book for delivery then, as ever, just visit www.mrbsemporium.com (remember if you don’t see the book you want on our site then if you get in touch we can add it in moments), call 01225 331155 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.