Covid-19 Updates

Our Bookshops in England: Changes to Mandatory Safety Measures

From Monday 19 July, a loosening of government restrictions in England means the wearing of face coverings and observing 1m social distancing is no longer mandatory. However, the government recommendation remains to wear face masks in crowded indoor environments, such as shops.

With this in mind, we will be respectfully encouraging our customers to voluntarily maintain the same safety measures of face masks and social distancing that, to date, have kept both our staff and fellow customers so secure. We have asked our staff to adopt the same principles.

Our bookshops in England are also maintaining the same COVID-19 protections such as Perspex till screens, hand sanitiser and safety signage as before.

In other areas of the UK, ROI and Europe, as yet there are no confirmed changes to government legislation and our safety measures here remain unchanged. Please refer to the notes below for local detail.

Face Masks and Hand Sanitisers

Medipop Reusable Grey Face Mask
Added to basket
£12.99   £6.49
General merchandise
Stay Safe face mask
Added to basket
£1.50   £0.75
General merchandise
Reusable Geo Print Face Mask
Added to basket
£12.99   £6.49
General merchandise
Reusable Raindrop Print Face Mask
Added to basket
£12.99   £6.49
General merchandise
Hand Sanitiser Gel 30ml
Added to basket
£2.99
General merchandise
Hand Sanitiser Gel 45ml
Added to basket
£3.99
General merchandise

Safety Signage and Limiting Customer Numbers

For customer guidance toward how to help keep everyone safe, you will find safety signage installed throughout every bookshop. This includes recommended or mandatory instruction around social distancing measures, hand sanitisation stations and directional signage to help manage the flow of customers, where appropriate. Other factors, such as layout and number of floors, may also play their part in our safety management.

 

Entrances and Hand Sanitising

Some of our doors may be designated for entrance or exit only and clear signage will denote this. We have invested in free-standing sanitiser stations for each shop, enabling our customers to sanitise immediately upon entry and wall-mounted sanitisers set at the entrances to our lifts. Regardless of any government loosening in safety measures, we do respectfully ask all customers to continue their practice of hand sanitisation before browsing.

 

 

Social Distancing, Furniture and Layout

Regardless of any loosening of government safety measures, as customers enter our bookshops, signage will request customers to keep a safe distance from both other customers and our staff. Our staff will not hand items directly to you, and we request that at the till customers hold items barcode uppermost so they can be scanned by a bookseller.

Each shop has completed a review of their furniture placement to ensure adequate space for staff and customers to move around in safety, sometimes using tables and other shop fixtures to guide adequate social distancing. This practice will continue across all Waterstones bookshops to enhance the safety of our staff and customers.

 

Tills and Queue Management

Similar to those you may have noticed in supermarkets and other retailers, we have installed sneeze screens throughout our bookshops, designed help protect both you and our staff while serving. Safe queueing at the till may be enhanced by adhesive floor vinyls, placed at 2m intervals, to indicate where is safe to stand. Regardless of any government loosening in safety measures, many of these safety measures will remain to enhance the safety of our staff and customers.

 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): What We Are Providing 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and its safe and sensible usage during the coronavirus pandemic is a fundamental focus for Waterstones. Across our shops in the UK, ROI and Europe, we have worked in collaboration with governments and our long-term suppliers to create comprehensive PPE kits that include customer sanitising stations, disposable gloves, disinfectant spray, hand sanitisers, face masks, and sneeze screens.

For our bookshops outside of England, our staff mandatorily wear face masks in all customer-facing areas and sanitise their hands throughout their day to minimise the threat of infection. Within England, the wearing of face masks for our staff is strongly recommended and their hand sanitisation regime remains the same.

Since the outset of lockdown, our Health & Safety and Property teams have worked arduously toward protecting the safety of both our staff and our customers, and we trust you will find our bookshops a safe and protective environment.

 

Customer Service, Social Distancing and Transactions At Our Tills

Excellent customer service is integral to good bookselling. Since our founding, we have relished what comes naturally to us, delivering the warm, knowledgeable service that is synonymous with Waterstones.

At the till, you will continue to enjoy our famous levels of service, despite the limitations of social distancing. We do accept cash, but we far prefer contactless payment (via debit/credit card or Apple and Google Pay) to minimise the potential of virus transmission. Our contactless limit is £45 across the UK, and our Google and Apple Pay limit is £100.

 

Wearing a Face Mask

The safety of our customers and the care of our staff is paramount. Across the UK other than England, ROI and our shops in Europe, the wearing of face masks (with certain exemptions) by our customers continues to be required by law.

From Monday 19 July, however, the English government will remove the mandatory wear of face coverings in public and the legislative requirement to adhere to 1m social distancing. We do recognise that some customers may wish to exercise the personal freedoms these changes bring.

We do however respectfully encourage our customers to follow the spirit of government guidance and, from Monday 19 July, continue to maintain the same safety measures of wearing face masks in crowded and enclosed spaces, and maintain the social distancing that has kept both our staff and fellow customers so secure across the pandemic.

Your thoughtful consideration toward the safety of our employees and fellow customers is very appreciated by all Waterstones staff.

Shops in England

From Monday 19 July, the English government will remove the mandatory wear of face coverings in public and the legislative requirement to adhere to 1m social distancing. We do recognise that some customers may wish to exercise the personal freedoms these changes bring.

We do however respectfully encourage our customers to follow the spirit of government guidance and maintain the same safety measures of wearing face masks in crowded and enclosed spaces, and to continue observing the social distancing that has kept both our staff and fellow customers so secure over the pandemic.

This revision toward safety measures only applies to bookshops across England; guidance for our other branches of Waterstones is recorded below.

Shops in Scotland

From Friday 10 July, the Scottish Government introduced, by law, the compulsory use of face coverings in shops, with a limited number of exceptions.

By face coverings, the guidance does not indicate a surgical or other medical grade mask, but a covering of the mouth and nose that is made of cloth or other textiles and through which you can breathe, for example a scarf or religious head covering that covers the mouth and nose. Face visors, so long as they cover nose and mouth completely, are included.

Exceptions include:

  • Children under the age of five years
  • Children with breathing difficulties and disabled children who would struggle to wear a face covering
  • People who have a health condition, disabled people and those who need to communicate with a person who has difficulties communicating (in relation to speech, language or otherwise) where wearing a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause difficulty, pain or severe distress or anxiety, or because it cannot be worn in the proper manner safely.

Further guidance can be found on the Scottish Gov website here.

Shops in Wales

From Monday 14 September, the Welsh Government introduced, by law, the compulsory use of face coverings in shops, with a limited number of exceptions. Government defines a face covering as a covering of any type which covers your nose and mouth.

By face coverings, the guidance does not indicate a surgical or other medical grade mask, but a covering of the mouth and nose that is made of cloth or other textiles and through which you can breathe, for example a scarf or religious head covering that covers the mouth and nose. Face visors, so long as they cover nose and mouth completely, are included.

Exceptions include:

  • Children under the age of 11
  • If you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
  • If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
  • If you are with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.

Further guidance can be found on the Welsh Gov website here.

Shops in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Executive has introduced, by law, the compulsory use of face coverings in shops, with a limited number of exceptions. Government defines a face covering as a covering of any type which covers your nose and mouth.

Exceptions include:
  • Children under the age of 13
  • If you need to seek medical assistance or to provide care to someone who needs assistance, such as a vulnerable person or in an emergency
  • If you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
  • If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
  • If you need to remove it to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
  • If you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • If you need to eat, drink, or take medication

Further guidance can be found on the Northern Irish Gov website here.

Shops in Republic of Ireland

Exceptions include:

  • Children under the age of 13
  • Those who cannot wear a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or a disability, or because it would cause you severe distress
  • Those who need to communicate with someone who has difficulties communicating
  • Those who need to remove a face covering to care for or help a vulnerable person or to give emergency assistance to someone
  • Those who need to remove a face covering to take medication
  • Those who need to remove a face covering to avoid harm or injury.

Further guidance can be found on the Irish Gov website here.

Our Cafes

At this stage, all our Cafés in our trading shops remain closed until we receive permission from the shops’ respective governments to reopen.

All our shop's toilets and washrooms will remain closed until our Cafés reopen, and then only toilets directly supporting a shop's Café will return to service. All other facilities will remain closed.

 

Events

Our shop events are still postponed but we look forward to welcoming you back later in the year. In the meantime, we invite you to join us for our spectacular online events programme, featuring some of publishing’s biggest names.

 

Other Bookshop Facilities

Our customer lifts are limited to one person or one family group at a time.

 

Contact Us

If you have any other queries not answered here you can contact our Customer Support team. We are available Monday - Friday between the hours of 9.00am - 5.30pm are currently receiving a very high volume of emails, so may take longer to respond than normal.

 

Email Customer Support