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Browsing Alone Inside Historic Bookstore May Not Be Such A Bad Thing


Many small business owners would love to stay open if they can do it safely. And people stuck at home could certainly use a bookstore that stays open, which explains what's happening at a store in Washington.

KYLE BURK: We came up with a creative idea to close the shop to the general public but allow people to in very small groups of four or fewer.

INSKEEP: Four or fewer. Kyle Burk is a co-owner of Capitol Hill Books. The walls there are packed top to bottom with second-hand books, which makes the store a little too crowded for social distancing.


Instead of closing, they are now welcoming private appointments. And there's no need to worry about salespeople in your personal space.

BURK: We'll maintain at least 6 feet apart per CDC guidance while they're in the store.

MARTIN: Burk says he wants to serve readers and look after their employees.

BURK: We have to do everything in our power to continue our operations and keep people employed and keep our business viable. At the same time, we don't want to do anything that would harm our employees or our customers or the community at large.

INSKEEP: Now, within hours after Capitol Hill Books shared their plan on social media, they received dozens of inquiries, one of which was from Sage Rosenthal (ph), who lives in the neighborhood.

SAGE ROSENTHAL: What better way to spend an hour doing something productive than outside of my home but in a safe way.

MARTIN: And that's a message that can be applied in so many different ways right now. Take those social distancing recommendations seriously. Be productive when you can be. Keep doing those things that make you happy. And most importantly, stay safe. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.