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GAME Belong Arenas will remain open for now

Game Digital PLC

UK retailer GAME has announced that they will be keeping their Belong Arenas open for the time being. They have also outlined plans to keep customers and staff safe against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Chief among the precautions being taken is the distribution of hand sanitizer to each and every GAME store. Employees are being instructed to clean surfaces regularly, particularly areas that see a lot of interaction such as demo stations for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch consoles.

Belong Arenas are areas where people can come to play games with friends on high-end machines. Naturally, these machines see a lot of people touching them on a regular basis, and so need to be cleaned regularly. GAME has explained that each machine is being cleaned between uses, and any machines that are empty are being left between players where possible, in order to keep at least one metre of separation.

Staff availability may begin to affect the opening times of certain stores. GAME has described how they will alter store opening times depending on what the availability of their staff is. It’s likely that individual locations will have different opening times, rather than a set new schedule being implemented.

The final announcement that the retailer has made was the cancellation of a number of events and tournaments they had planned. GAME has been expanding their esports business over the last few years, and these tournaments and events were part of their strategy, with each one taking place in one of their Belong Arenas.

US retailer GameStop has taken similar measures, though not all of theirs seem to be consistent. The retailer has insisted that stores are being cleaned regularly, but an internal memo given to the press revealed that most cleaning supplies cannot be delivered due to supply shortages.

GameStop is also making employees take sick or annual leave if they know someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, which isn’t a sustainable solution for the employees in that awkward position.

In the UK, the government is offering a number of beneficial services for those forces to stop working. This should prove to help businesses like GAME in the short-term, but the long-term effects of closures has not yet been explored.

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