GameStop found itself in the sights of reporters, people, and even some local governments over the past few days. Earlier this week, an internal memo revealed that, amid statewide shutdowns, GameStop was claiming “essential retail” status to stay open and keep employees working. Operations were changing to meet CDC guidelines, but that didn’t stop the story from going viral. GameStop then backed off, closing its stores in California. After that, social media posts suggested GameStop’s business license was temporarily suspended in Pennsylvania, another full lockdown state. Late yesterday, GameStop finally backed down entirely, producing a press release announcing all GameStop stores will be closed to customers for the time being. [Thanks, Kotaku]
GameStop isn’t closing down entirely. While customers will no longer be allowed inside stores, many locations will still be operational in order to assist with eCommerce business. For those stores, limited staff will be inside to maintain operations and facilitate a curbside pickup system. So shipment issues and further changes notwithstanding, folks who preordered April games like Final Fantasy VII Remake and Resident Evil 3 may still be able to swing by and pick them up. But other than that, you won’t be able to walk over to a GameStop and browse the shelves.
Despite ongoing stories of turbulence at the retail chain, GameStop is offering some compensation for impacted staff. GameStop stated that anyone uncomfortable with continuing work will be able to stay at home and not worry about losing their jobs. Additionally, staff impacted by closing stores will be given 80 hours of paid time off if eligible, or an additional two weeks’ pay if not. The situation is still developing, as most stores were likely assuming business as usual. For any business that closed down shop during the pandemic-related lockdowns, many staff are either laid off or staying home on an indefinite basis. Much of what happens next will likely be up to the federal government, which continues to deliberate legislation.