Comic book retail giant Newbury Comics closed all 28 of its locations at 6 p.m. Eastern time today in the interest of minimizing risk of their customers and employees contracting the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, the company announced. They will continue to provide pay and benefits to their employees during the downtime, as well as operating their online store, with current plans to reopen physical locations on Sunday, April 5.
Founded in 1978 in Boston, Newbury Comics is one of the largest and oldest comic book store chains in America. Also a retailer of music and pop culture merchandise, they kind of got out ahead of the curve of blending geek culture with the rest of pop culture. The chain has a long history of employees who would go on to make waves in entertainment and music, most notably Aimee Mann.
"We realize the impact this closure will have on our employees and this is not a decision that we made lightly," Newbury said in a statement (via Newsarama). "We will be providing pay and extending their benefits through this time. We will continue to monitor this rapidly changing situation and update our customers if circumstances change. Thank you for being part of the Newbury Comics family - we will miss seeing all of you and can't wait to see you again. Please take care of yourselves and each other."
You can see the post below.
The pandemic and resulting self-isolation around the country has had a crippling effect on the entertainment industry. Box office receipts have plummeted as theaters close their doors for indefinite periods of time, and film and TV productions have been put on hold in order to avoid spreading the virus. Meanwhile, projects that have already been completed are being delayed or, in some cases, released as direct-to-streaming projects.
The COVID-19 novel coronavirus is seeing similar exponential growth in the United States right now to what happened in Italy a few weeks ago. That country has seen a spike in cases (and related fatalities), and the government has had to impose stricter quarantines and lockdowns.
Americans are living in a national state of emergency and in many states, all non-essential businesses have been ordered closed in order to assist in quarantining citizens to keep them from contacting the coronavirus. Movie theaters have been shut down and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued guidelines that instruct Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people.
Several comic book retailers have started offering curbside pickup, delivery, or mail-order comics in order to give fans a chance to keep on top of their pull boxes without going inside.