After facing major backlash, video game retailer GameStop will be closing all customer access to its locations effective Sunday, March 22. GameStop’s decision to close is the latest in major businesses that have decided to close as an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Major gaming events like E3 and Pokémon tournaments are shutting down in response to the threat of the coronavirus as well.
Here is a relevant quotation from GameStop’s release:
Effective Sunday March 22, 2020, for all locations not already closed in accordance with state and local orders, GameStop will temporarily stop customer access to storefronts, processing orders on a digital only basis, moving to curbside pick-up at stores and eCommerce delivery only. This will allow the Company to continue to serve customers who have purchased online at GameStop.com and the GameStop app and have requested a product pick-up at their local store.
GameStop is essential?
Earlier this week GameStop announced that it would remain open against the advice of pretty much everyone. In doing so the company faced plenty of backlash from both employees and customers. This came after GameStop declared itself “essential retail” and committed to remaining open.
GameStop has instructed employees to tell law enforcement trying to shut down their stores that they're "essential retail." They've been handed a flyer they're supposed to give police with a number for GameStop's corporate office. https://t.co/PVvBXTymcf
— Patrick Klepek (@patrickklepek) March 19, 2020
George Sherman, GameStop’s Chief Executive Officer, stated that their main concern has been the well-being of their employees and customers. He went on to say, “We have been steadfast in our adherence to CDC-guided safety and local government orders for retailers in each of our communities. As millions of Americans look to GameStop to adjust to their new normal of increased time at home, for work, learning and play, we have implemented practices to help ensure the safety and health of our employees, customers and partners.”
Sherman reiterated that they will be expanding their curbside pick-up for locations. This move will enable locations that are allowed by state and local laws to remain open while minimizing customer interactions. For those who have not yet picked up their copies of Doom Eternal or Animal Crossing: New Horizons, this might be the solution they are looking for.
GameStop also pledged to pay employees whose hours were cut an additional 2 weeks. The company stated that they will reimburse one month’s worth of employee benefit contributions.