GameStop deems itself “essential retail,” will not close stores amid pandemic

GameStop will not close retail locations

GameStop has decided it will not heed COVID-19-related government recommendations to close retail locations. After health officials across the country have issued orders to have all non-essential physical businesses closed in order to slow the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak, GameStop has instructed its employees to do just the opposite. The struggling national retailer has told its workers to leave stores open and ignore official orders as it has now deemed itself an “essential retail” location. More details below.

GameStop will NOT close retail locations

While local, state, and federal government agencies are allowing “essential retail” to remain open during the crisis — grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and the like — GameStop seems to think it falls under that category. In a memo sent out to employees obtained by Kotaku, GameStop explained that it feels it does not need to close retail locations because it falls under that category due to the products it carries:

“Due to the products we carry that enable and enhance our customers’ experience in working from home, we believe GameStop is classified as essential retail and therefore is able to remain open during this time”

While reports of GameStop employees being very concerned regarding the business’ choice to not close retail locations have already hit the internet, the company is also instructing store managers to basically ignore police officers and officials that might enter a specific location to enforce the closure. More specifically, the company has issued a flyer/statement for store managers to give to officials in the event this happens:

“Thank you for what you are doing to keep us all safe. If you have questions about our store’s hours, operations or policies could I ask you to please call our corporate office:

GameStop Corporate Office

Thank you for understanding.”

While clearly the retailer has been on a downward spiral lately in terms of its bottom-line, we cannot help but think it’s taking things a little too far here. It has issued a statement regarding reduced store hours, suspending used game trade-ins, and more, but it just doesn’t seem like enough in this time of crisis. There is no word from the company on whether or not it plans to close retail locations in the future at this time. 

9to5Toys’ Take:

While so many questions remain in the air regarding how this pandemic will pan out, one thing is clear at this point: we are all much safer if we stay home and avoid social contact as much as possible. While this all couldn’t have really happened at a worse time for the struggling national retailer, employee and public safety are paramount. GameStop may indeed carry some items that help individuals work from home, but it’s probably time to close retail locations, take their employees out of harm’s way, and move to an entirely online ordering system until world officials can get a handle on this thing. 

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