Coronavirus Update 7: Quarantining.

Hello, dear readers,

Needless to say, this is a very different update than anything I ever wanted to write. I’d love to be talking about the holidays and pre-orders, giving you lists of good books to buy. Alas, I have much less fun news.

You might have seen yesterday that one of our employees has tested positive for COVID-19. We are obviously closing the doors to the public once again until we can get everyone tested and deep clean the store, and in the meantime, we are trying to be as transparent as possible about what this means for you, for us, and for us getting books to you. Your safety and the safety of our booksellers is paramount. To that end, some things are going to look a little different for the next few weeks.

First and foremost: If you were in the store between the 10-16th of October, please keep a close eye on your health. We know that’s a long range of dates, but we’d rather you be safe than sorry. Salud at 1830 Laporte is doing testing, and LCPH also provides free drive-through testing. If you are in any way concerned or showing symptoms, we urge you to go get tested.

Second: the store is closed to browsing until such time as we can get it deep cleaned. The cleaning service can’t come in until we have an employee with a negative test result who can be present, so we will not be able to do anything until one of us gets in the clear. We’re hoping for early next week, but it’s all very flexible and dependent on test turnaround, so we will keep you posted. There will be no one in the store for the next 72 hours; this weekend, we are completely shut down to let the store ventilate. If you need to get through to us, email us at info@oldfirehousebooks.com.

In the meantime: curbside and delivery are suspended until Friday, Oct. 30th, at the earliest. Again, this is subject to change, but again, we’d rather be safe than sorry. This means that if you have a book waiting for you at the store, you will not be able to pick it up until late next week. We are sorry for the inconvenience, but we want you and our employees to be safe.

We will be resetting to our lockdown procedures, which means only one employee will be in the store at a time, to receive shipments, answer the phone, and fulfill web orders. But since we’ll only have one person at a time in the store, we beg your patience, once again. If you can’t get through on our phones, please email us (info@oldfirehousebooks.com) or order online (oldfirehousebooks.com). We will be processing web orders, but please be aware that they will be taking longer than normal–think 10-14 business days instead of 5-7.

We will be monitoring the email and social media accounts from home, so if you email us or send us a message on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, we will still try our best to respond. If you have questions, the best way to reach us is by email.

How can you help us in the meantime? We’ve got a few ways:

  1. Bookshop.org is an affiliate site where we’ve got a page set up; you can order books through them and we’ll get a share of the profits. But the books do not come through our store and get shipped to you directly from Bookshop warehouses, so there is no chance of contaminant or waiting for us to get back in and process things. Check out the lists and keep an eye out for more of them coming soon.
  2. Libro.fm is our audiobook partner where you can subscribe and purchase audiobooks and we get a share of the profits.
  3. Order online. Our website is still the safest way for you to place orders that directly help us. Again, we will be processing these orders, but it will be a slower process than normal.
  4. Donate to our GoFundMe. This is still ongoing from way back in April when we first went into lockdown. We’re about $5,000 away from our goal, and if we reach that, it will help us cover these two weeks of closure.
  5. Buy gift cards. The easiest way for you to help keep us afloat is to buy store gift cards! We get the revenue now and you get books later when you use your cards. You can put any amount on our gift cards, buy them online, use them on our website, and we are happy to mail them to you.

We are hoping that we can get everything clean and everyone healthy and open back up to browsing in early November. This is optimistic and subject to change–isn’t everything subject to change?–but we’ve got our fingers crossed.

Right now, we thank you, thank you, thank you for your patience, support, and understanding. We are so sorry for the inconvenience and for any harm caused by this. We sincerely wish for the continued good health of all our customers, our friends, our dear readers, and hope that you can continue to support us through this worst case scenario. There are eleven of us depending on Old Firehouse Books for our livelihoods, and we have been so deeply grateful to all of you, local and so far away, for keeping us going through this whole year. We could not keep doing what we love without you, and we hope you’ll keep helping us do it as soon as this crisis is past.

We love you. We thank you for your understanding. We hope you stay safe.

Love,
–the Staff at OFB

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