The struggling video game retail chain GameStop told all of its stores this afternoon to stay open even in the event of state or city lockdowns to protect against the covid-19 pandemic, emphasising that it is “essential retail” alongside groceries and pharmacies and should therefore be exempt from enforced closures.
“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,” the retailer said in a memo to staff this afternoon, obtained by Kotaku.
“We have received reports of local authorities visiting stores in an attempt to enforce closure despite our classification. Store Managers are approved to provide the document linked below to law enforcement as needed.”
The document in question encourages police officers to call GameStop’s corporate headquarters if they have a problem with this policy.
The retailer said later this afternoon that it would be reducing hours, postponing all events, and suspending used game trade-ins until March 29.
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
Meanwhile, GameStop employees all across the United States have feared for their safety in the wake of the company’s misguided responses to the covid-19 crisis. “Been with company almost a decade,” one told Kotaku this afternoon. “This is indefensible.”