GameStop Claims to Be ‘Essential Retail’ to Stay Open During Lockdowns

Don’t touch! Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

We can’t blame you for using your newly increased time indoors to play more video games. We can’t even blame you if you’re using social distancing as an excuse to stay in and game when that’s what you would’ve been doing anyway. But we can blame GameStop for trying to keep its stores open during the coronavirus pandemic by calling itself “essential retail,” Kotaku reports. The gaming site obtained a memo sent to store managers that says, “Due to the products we carry that enable and enhance our customers’ experience in working from home, we believe GameStop is classified as essential retail and therefore is able to remain open during this time.” The memo goes on to say that cities have tried to close GameStop locations during lockdowns, and says store managers should tell police to call GameStop’s headquarters if they’re trying to close a store.

Kotaku previously reported that GameStop has been unable to provide all 5,700 of its stores with hand sanitizer, which is now on back order. Employees described having to search for cleaning supplies themselves, and one said they had to close the store bathroom after running out of toilet paper. While GameStop says it is encouraging symptomatic employees to stay home, one worker told Kotaku that employees were told staying home without a doctor’s note would count as an “unexcused absence,” which potentially puts their jobs at risk. Anyway, if you’re still going to a GameStop, where you’ll touch approximately 1,473 plastic boxes, during a pandemic, we don’t know what to tell you.

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GameStop Claims to Be ‘Essential Retail’ to Stay Open