As COVID-19 has continued to spread across the globe, many governments are beginning to enact major policies to stymie the trend of exponential growth in new cases. One such measure in the United States has been to call on all “non-essential” business to close their doors. GameStop, the store that sells video games and video game related material, has decided that it is essential retail and continues to open its stores.
In a report by Kotaku, GameStop executives reached out to its stores to stay open regardless of city ordinances. In a memo to the staff acquired by Kotaku, GameStop has said that “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.”
We are working diligently during this unprecedented time to provide our customers & associates with the safest environment possible. Please see below for details on new changes we are enacting & click here for our full statement: https://t.co/qP9jDQUmjs pic.twitter.com/d99kxviz7Q— GameStop (@GameStop) March 19, 2020
Facing backlash from this leaked memo, the company released steps they are taking to make sure the in-store experience is as safe as possible for customers. These steps include: only allowing 10 customers in a store at once, reducing hours, and temporarily suspending trade-ins.
Although this memo was sent out yesterday, developments with state responses to COVID-19 have squashed GameStop’s desires to keep its stores open. In particular, California’s lock down has required GameStop to close, even as it thinks it is an essential business. However, as another Kotaku report notes, employees will not be paid while the stores are closed and have been told to use their days off.
In the end, this is not a good look for GameStop. The company has been struggling recently, even bringing in Reggie Fils-Aimé in order to guide the company. As Reggie starts in late April, he and the company generally have a lot to earn back good will with its customers and the public.