GameStop has closed all of its 5,700 retail locations to protect customers and employees from possible exposure to COVID-19.
The games retailer will continue to process online orders and a select number of employees will continue to come into its stores to facilitate ‘contactless’ local pickup.
This option allows customers to pick up an online order in-person outside of a specific retail location at a time scheduled after the purchase order has been processed.
‘This is an unprecedented time and each day brings new information about the COVID-19 pandemic,’ GameStop CEO George Sherman wrote in a statement, reported by CNN.
Video game retailer GameStop announced it would close all of its 5,700 retail locations to the general public, while some employees will still come in to fulfill online orders and ‘contactless’ pickup that will be available outside the stores
‘Our priority has been and continues to be on the well-being of our employees, customers and business partners.’
‘We have been steadfast in our adherence to CDC-guided safety and local government orders for retailers in each of our communities.’
The new policy reverses a position the company previously held , insisting it would keep its stores open because they provided essential goods and services for people transitioning to telecommuting.
The initial decision to remain open provoked criticism from both employees and legislators.
In Pennsylvania, the state government suspended GameStop’s business license in an attempt to force the retailer to cease operations.
In Georgia, police were sent to an Athens location with an 11-page ordinance ordering the store shut down.
GameStop initially said it would keep all of its stores open because it provided ‘essential’ goods and services for people transitioning to telecommuting. In Athens, Georgia, police visited a GameStop with an ordinance insisting the store close (pictured above)
GameStop employees at a location in California considered calling the police to try and close their own location after worrying that the store’s corporate management was violating governor Gavin Newsom’s executive mandating a shelter-in-place policy for the state.
Dustin Carson, who worked at the Athens location visited by police, felt the company’s argument that it provided essential goods for telecommuters was ‘ridiculous.’
‘If someone’s trying to work from home, they don’t want the $85 Razer keyboard we have or the $60 Razer mouse,’ he told CNN.
‘Some cheap $20 Microsoft something is going to get them by just fine. They can get that at Walmart.’
‘They can get that at any of these other stores that also have groceries and are arguably much more essential to being open right now.’
An anonymous GameStop employee at a New Jersey location said the pandemic had been a huge stressor for the store workers.
‘I’m trying not to cry in front of my staff,’ they said. ‘I feel very much like a pawn.
‘It doesn’t matter what the staff on the ground does. They’re just expendable.’