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Powell's Books to reopen in downtown Portland

The Green and Blue rooms in the downtown store will reopen with limited store hours beginning Friday.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Powell's Books will reopen portions of its downtown store with limited hours beginning Friday, the company announced on Tuesday.

People will be able to shop in the southeast part of the building, more commonly known as the Green and Blue rooms, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Books lovers rejoiced at the news that the bookseller was opening the doors to part of the flagship store that fills a city block.

"I’ve been coming to Powell’s for 30 years; it’s always meant a lot to support this bookstore and what they do for the community, and putting reading in the hands of young kids," said Annie Odro, who is a high school English teacher.

Powell's reopened its store at Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton on August 7. Powell's Books CEO Emily Powell said the company has been encouraged by the turnout at its Beaverton location.

"Seeing you and the enthusiasm we all share for books and reading has been a true joy for our book-loving hearts," she said. "We are delighted to announce that we are going to try a limited opening of the Green and Blue rooms of our downtown store."

People working at other businesses near Powell's City of Books also expressed appreciation its partial reopening would draw more people to the area and their establishments.

Mindy Parks works at Bluemercury, a cosmetics and spa store.  She noticed new, blue-painted boxes six feet apart leading up to Powell's southeast entrance and figured it was good news.

"We are super excited to hear that Powell’s is reopening," said Parks. "For those of us here in the Pearl, Powell’s is obviously a super main staple for the neighborhood."

The downtown Portland store will follow all local and federal health guidelines and take the following precautions to assure the health and safety of customers and staff:

  • Limited occupancy: Powell's will monitor the number of customers in the store at one time and have outdoor, socially distanced waiting line protocol in place to manage crowds
  • Face coverings are mandatory in the store, in compliance with Oregon policy. Free disposable masks are available to customers who arrive without one. For more information regarding accommodations for customers who are unable to wear a face covering due to a disability, please call 800-878-7323
  • Freestanding hand sanitizer stations are available at the entrance of the store, and at each info desk, lookup station, and cash register
  • Shopping baskets will be cleaned after each use
  • High-use areas like lookup stations, info desks, and cash registers are frequently disinfected
  • Plexiglass has been installed at all info desks and cash registers
  • Signs are posted throughout the store reminding staff and customers to wear face coverings and maintain at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others, along with other safety messaging
  • The restrooms are currently closed to the public

All Powell's Books stores closed in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. The company said it doesn't have plans to reopen its other two locations, both located on Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland, at this time.

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