Despite a state-wide lockdown, one GameStop store in Boston had still been serving customers. The store was then found out, and ordered to close by force.
According to a report from The Boston Globe, The store had been operating for several days unnoticed in Dorchester, that is until the city’s Inspectional Services Department discovered them serving customers last Tuesday. The order to close was issued shortly afterward.
Staff members were caught selling games to customers via the store’s front door, which was slightly open to allow products out, and payments in. Any employees service customers were wearing gloves, or GameStop bags that were taped around their hands. These practices were advised by those higher up within GameStop in an internal email.
All non-essential stores were ordered to close by the State of Massachusetts on the 24th of March. This is one of the necessary steps being taken to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
GameStop attempted to argue that they were essential retail, since their products provide something to keep people occupied during their self-isolation. However, the company officially failed to meet the standards of essential retail, and so wasn’t eligible for curbside pickup.
The Inspectional Services Department confirmed the closure of the store the following day, and by Thursday GameStop announced that all stores in the state had also been closed. While no fine was issued, the company was given a nuisance order.
On the 22nd of March GameStop announced that all stores in Canada were closed, but they maintained that stores in the US were open for curbside pickup. So far no one has been able to confirm whether or not stores outside of Massachusetts are still operating.
It seems as though GameStop are waiting until their stores are specifically ordered to close, as those in Massachusetts were, before they take any action. In recently revealed internal emails they justify their opening as essential, and have even told staff that they must take sick leave or annual leave if they are sick or worried for their safety.
In the UK, retailer GAME has told employees that they will be paid a full wage until the 30th of April, and from then on will be put on furlough if the lockdown doesn’t change.