US retailer GameStop has finally closed all of their stores around Canada. In the US, customers are prevented from entering the premises. All of this has been put into place immediately as concerns around the coronavirus (COVID-19) grow.
The EB Games Canada subsidiary was heavily criticised for allowing consumers to continue to enter stores, leading to long lines where people weren’t observing the minimum separation of two metres. The situation was exacerbated by the launch of two big new games last Friday, DOOM Eternal, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Toronto’s Town Mayor, John Tory, told CBC that the actions GameStop were taking were not good corporate citizenship. He added that all non-essential businesses were asked to close, and the fact that they didn’t is a cause for great concern.
Shortly after Tory’s comments, the company issued a statement explaining that as of the end of business on Friday, March 20, 2020, all stores under EB Games Canada would be closing. They went on to say that they will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation, like all retailers, and open as soon as possible.
The company ended by stating that all physical locations were closed, but online deliveries would function as normal.
GameStop on the other hand, released a statement on Saturday night claiming that as of Sunday morning customers would only be able to pick items up from the curbside. All locations would be shut off to public access, but provide this service to those who had placed orders online.
In addition, the company explained that employees who have lost hours will be paid at their normal rate for the next two weeks. The company will also be reimbursing all benefit-eligible US employees for one month of their portion of benefit expenses. Finally, all employees who are sick, feel sick, or are worried about their health have been told that they are allowed to remain at home.
George Sherman, GameStop’s CEO, described the top priority for the company as the health of their employees. He added that they have been strictly following all guidelines from the CDC and their local government.
Early last week reports emerged showing internal company memos from GameStop that told stores to remain open since they deemed themselves an essential outlet. Employees were told to refer law enforcement to GameStop’s head office. In San Mateo county, the company was told that they were not considered an essential service.
Gavin Newson, California’s Governor, later issued a stay at home order for the state. GameStop did comply with this order.