Regarding our mask policy change

June 2024


A message from the owner regarding our masking policy:


It has been a very difficult four years for small businesses, particularly mission-driven ones and almost every tough decision I have had to make has been an agonizing one with little to no support or guidance from our government. We have kept our 2020 mask policy in place while many others (including essential services and health care facilities) did away with mask mandates. But after a year and a half of sales being down (with a sharp downturn in 2024), I made the very hard decision to update this policy to a hybrid model.  


I knew this would upset some people and I would not have made this change if it did not feel essential to the survival of the business in the long run. I apologize that the timing of this was not more thoughtful and that our original messaging lacked context.  


The last year and a half has been hard on our business, with sales down every month both in-store and online and operational costs ballooning. I very much want Early to Bed to continue to bring pleasure to folks and serve our community (such as: our free binder program, free s-x toys and gender gear for a variety of groups, among many other community donations we make regularly) - but the reality of existing in a capitalist culture is that we cannot continue to be here and support our community if we do not have the income to do so. We have sadly struggled with people refusing to shop with us when asked to mask. And while it would be amazing to have a business that only served people who were 100% on board with all of our values, if we want to continue to exist, we have to find a way to balance the needs of as many people as possible - Which right now means meeting different people’s needs on different days of the week. 


I also want to acknowledge that there are people whose disabilities make masking or communicating in a mask difficult, and I want those folks to have an opportunity to shop in person as well. This hybrid model feels like the best solution to balance a variety of people’s needs as well as ensure we are able to continue to operate in a mission-driven way.  


Through this change, we are:  


  • Still requiring masks during our high volume days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and at all public events and workshops. 
  • Continuing to offer private shopping appointments for folks who need or want to have the store to themselves while they shop. 
  • Adding an additional air filter in the space.
  • Continuing to have masks available at the door and signage encouraging folks to use them. 


I know this change will not please everyone; no policy ever will. I hope we can still find a way to serve our whole community, and we appreciate your patience and understanding while we continue to navigate these challenging times the very best we can.

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