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Russian Bookstore Wields Shovel for Contact-Free Service During Virus Lockdown

Platon Romanov, the owner of St. Petersburg's Fahrenheit 451 bookstore, delivers books to his customers with a shovel to observe social distancing guidelines. Bookstore "Fahrenheit 451"

At a time when people and businesses around the world are adapting to social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, a bookstore in Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg has found an ingenious way to stay in business: Shoveling books to customers through the doorway from a safe distance.

Platon Romanov, the owner of Fahrenheit 451, says his buyers prefer the cold shovel blade to the warm touch of human hands, according to St. Petersburg’s Bumaga news website.

He says the new approach allowed his sales to pick up from two books a day to up to 17 this week.

“Now more than ever, we need a chance to work. Otherwise, many stores won’t survive the isolation period. Another month of quarantine can be fatal for most of us,” he was quoted as saying.

“An independent bookstore can’t only exist on the internet. It’s an ‘other place’ [outside work and home] where you can come, discuss anything, learn about books you haven’t heard of before, drink tea or coffee,” Romanov said.

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