A CHAIN store's plans to quarantine books for three days if they are touched by customers has been branded "absolutely unworkable".

Waterstones which has branches on Carlisle's Scotch Street - and additional stores in Barrow and Kendal say plans to reopen stores include taking the books out of circulation for at least three days if they are thumbed through but not bought.

The comments by the firm's chief executive James Daunt were made on Tuesday in the Retail Gazette as part of a raft of possible Covid-19 measures.

Steve Matthews, who runs Bookends, on Castle Street, described the plans as "excessive" but says he is also taking measures for when the book store eventually reopens such as installing plastic screens.

He said: "We don't know when the guidance on reopening will be issued but we thought that perhaps we could give plastic gloves to people so they can look at the books.

"But we are in Boris' hands before the guidance is issued, we are still at the 'not quite sure' stage."

On Twitter, the Carlisle Shopper, an established account that bills itself as "supporting local traders and letting visitors know that the city is a great place to do business" said: "Absolutely unworkable. Bookshop browsing necessitates handling.

"You pick them up and read the blurb, flick through them.

"Will customers have dedicated staff following them around the store, seizing the offending titles?

Though the Bookends store is still closed Steve and the staff are taking orders, which can be over the phone.

Ring 01228 529067.