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GameStop rules itself 'essential retail' and therefore immune to lockdown closures

GameStop rules itself 'essential retail' and therefore immune to lockdown closures

March 19, 2020 | By Alissa McAloon

GameStop’s top brass have decided the video game retailer counts as an essential business during coronavirus times, and has told store management to keep its locations open despite local lockdowns.

This all comes from a memo circulated to GameStop staff today (obtained and shared by Kotaku) that instructs store managers to insist stores remain open, even if local law enforcement comes knocking to say otherwise.

“We have received reports of local authorities visiting stores in an attempt to enforce closure despite our classification,” reads a portion of that memo. “Store Managers are approved to provide the document linked below to law enforcement as needed.”

GameStop notes earlier in the document that it deems itself an essential retailer due to the fact that its offerings “enable and enhance our customers’ experience in working from home.” Any lockdown enforcers are told to contact GameStop corporate for more information on GameStop’s self-decreed essential status.

It’s also worth noting that coronavirus-driven quarantines, lockdowns, and social distancing protocol come during an already rocky period for the retailer as it attempts to reinvigorate both its stores and its sales figures. On top of that, this week alone contains two major video game releases that GameStop is likely recluctant to close its doors during--Doom Eternal and Animal Crossing: New Horizons--though this week's big releases aren't specifically noted in the memo.

While remaining open means GameStop staff won’t have to be concerned over the sudden loss of income other retail workers now have to weather during mandated lockdowns, keeping the lights on at GameStop during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic risks exposing both staff and its customers to the notoriously contagious virus.

Small changes have been made in a public-facing attempt to lower the risk of COVID-19 in GameStop stores like the recent decision to release Doom Eternal one day early, earlier reports from publications like Kotaku show employees are questioning the company’s ability to protect the health of its employees

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