GameStop closes all stores

Many GameStop stores around the US remain open despite some state orders for non-essential retail stores to close due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Posted: Mar 23, 2020 12:41 PM


GameStop will close all of its storefronts starting Sunday following outcry from employees and calls from lawmakers to stay at home as coronavirus spreads in the United States.

Though stores will be closed to customers, GameStop will process orders on a digital only basis, moving to curbside pick-up at stores and delivery.

"This is an unprecedented time and each day brings new information about the COVID-19 pandemic. Our priority has been and continues to be on the well-being of our employees, customers and business partners. We have been steadfast in our adherence to CDC-guided safety and local government orders for retailers in each of our communities," George Sherman, GameStop's Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement.

Last week, GameStop had resisted calls to close all of its stores, saying it was an "essential" business because it offers mice and keyboards that could help people work from home. GameStop told CNN Business in a statement that "we are one of many providers of these products that are remaining open at this time." But it didn't comment on why it must remain open if other stores are also providing those items.

Stores had remained open in several states that had ordered non-essential retail to close, including New York and New Jersey. Starting Friday, the video game retailer began to close stores in California and Pennsylvania. California has been under a statewide stay home order since Thursday evening.

Eight current employees told CNN Business that GameStop was keeping its stores open to profit off of a video game shopping spree during a global pandemic. Video game sales have risen for retailers and online stores, as analysts anticipate more people are playing as they stay home. PC game store Steam reported an all-time high of 21 million users on Friday.

"Animal Crossing: New Horizons" launched in stores Friday and "Doom Eternal" was available a day earlier. Ahead of those two major video game releases, GameStop sent out an internal memo Thursday to store leaders and other employees saying that it believed its stores should be "classified as an essential business" and remain open during the global pandemic. It told employees in a letter viewed by CNN Business that they should direct law enforcement to call a corporate number if they tried to enforce store closures.

Several current employees told CNN Business that only select shops carry the kind of equipment that can help people work from home. GameStop primarily carries higher-end PC gaming accessories, not the more affordable and simpler tools that are most suitable for office work.

"That's absolutely ridiculous. If someone's trying to work from home, they don't want the $85 Razer keyboard we have or the $60 Razer mouse. Some cheap $20 Microsoft something is going to get them by just fine," said Dustin Carson, 31, a game adviser at a GameStop in Athens, Georgia. "They can get that at Walmart. They can get that at any of these other stores that also have groceries and are arguably much more essential to being open right now."

The Athens store opened on Friday morning, even though the county is under a shelter-in-place order.

Police went to the store Friday afternoon to order that it shut down. They showed GameStop employees an 11-page ordinance that included a list of essential businesses, which CNN Business viewed. GameStop was not listed as one of them. The store closed on Friday at around 4 pm ET and it is unclear if it will reopen Saturday. Athens' police department did not return a request for comment.

"Honestly, I'm relieved," said Carson, "No one needs to get sick or die over video games. They're not essential items."

As states and districts adopt new rules to counter COVID-19, GameStop said it would shift its approach: "We are complying with all state, county, city and local ordinances and we will continue to adjust to any future developments."

GameStop is struggling financially, going through considerable layoffs and closing stores. The pandemic could hurt the company because the bulk of its profit comes selling physical copies of the games.

"I never considered myself someone essential to a pandemic then, and I don't now," a GameStop shift manager in Illinois, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, told CNN Business.

The Illinois employee said their store made $4,000 in net sales on Sunday and Monday combined and "that is definitely out of the norm for this time of the year."

"I think I've cried every day since Monday... I'm trying not to cry in front of my staff," said a longtime current GameStop store leader in New Jersey, who didn't want to be identified for fear of being fired. "I feel very much like a pawn. It doesn't matter what the staff on the ground does. They're just expendable."

Employees had called for GameStop to shut its stores, even though it will hurt them financially.

One assistant store leader in California said "I had asked my manager if we should call local law enforcement to try to enforce the closure... [the request] died in the chain of command." He later added that his store has now closed as of Friday and that he does not expect to be paid beyond using up his vacation days.

Matthew, who asked to be identified by first name only, a longtime GameStop employee, worked in a New Jersey mall store he said recently closed because the governor mandated mall closures.

While most employees expressed they believe GameStop should close its stores during the pandemic, one keyholder in Virginia said, "I do believe that they should stay open. With unemployment buckling under the weight of the layoffs I can't see a way to earn income at this moment in time... I need this job."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 155246

Reported Deaths: 4065
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25151785
Lake13570355
St. Joseph9145161
Elkhart8759135
Allen8129228
Hamilton6117113
Vanderburgh576760
Tippecanoe369515
Hendricks3268133
Monroe325738
Porter313649
Johnson3105128
Clark293961
Delaware293274
Vigo260538
Madison235093
Cass224022
LaPorte222858
Warrick192965
Kosciusko182625
Floyd179167
Howard162466
Bartholomew141558
Dubois138626
Marshall137426
Wayne126930
Henry125429
Grant125339
Boone122250
Hancock118245
Noble115933
Jackson112915
Dearborn94928
Morgan93740
Lawrence87436
Daviess87133
Gibson87111
Clinton84716
Shelby81730
LaGrange80115
Harrison76224
Knox75610
Putnam72816
Posey7146
DeKalb71011
Fayette66618
Steuben6278
Miami6095
Jasper5945
White58515
Montgomery58322
Greene53337
Scott51813
Decatur50439
Adams4837
Whitley4556
Clay4467
Ripley4418
Sullivan43714
Wells4288
Wabash4119
Starke4077
Orange40425
Huntington3905
Spencer3906
Washington3753
Franklin37225
Jennings36713
Fulton3523
Randolph3529
Jefferson3415
Pike33018
Carroll32513
Perry31014
Jay3056
Fountain2943
Tipton27523
Vermillion2411
Parke2323
Newton22511
Rush2154
Blackford2093
Owen2051
Martin1990
Crawford1581
Pulaski1521
Brown1393
Ohio1297
Benton1100
Union1100
Switzerland920
Warren781
Unassigned0234

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 190430

Reported Deaths: 5161
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin31466640
Cuyahoga19706682
Hamilton16687343
Montgomery10377189
Lucas8285373
Butler8276129
Summit6689265
Warren420064
Stark3796181
Mahoning3709286
Marion338850
Pickaway301146
Delaware287227
Lorain272889
Fairfield264457
Licking257966
Wood249681
Clark249456
Clermont245938
Greene229242
Trumbull2270134
Allen213073
Columbiana212887
Miami199958
Lake193659
Medina185642
Portage162068
Mercer152128
Wayne140269
Ross139436
Richland132324
Tuscarawas129024
Athens12052
Erie115553
Darke114451
Madison105415
Hancock104725
Auglaize100616
Putnam97427
Lawrence93025
Shelby90914
Muskingum8884
Geauga85950
Scioto8599
Belmont78827
Union7583
Ashtabula72648
Sandusky71122
Huron70912
Preble62418
Holmes61710
Seneca60114
Ottawa58430
Fulton53711
Henry47317
Jefferson4694
Clinton46413
Defiance46013
Jackson4598
Crawford4528
Fayette4498
Highland4304
Logan4233
Ashland3986
Champaign3983
Knox38416
Brown3793
Perry36611
Washington35124
Morrow3442
Hardin33613
Williams3354
Coshocton32112
Guernsey3218
Pike3000
Wyandot29513
Gallia29113
Van Wert2633
Meigs21012
Adams2096
Paulding2012
Carroll2007
Hocking1979
Monroe16118
Noble1290
Vinton963
Harrison803
Morgan780
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Few Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 64°
Angola
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 64°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 65°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 61°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 61°
Friday Afternoon Showers & Thunderstorms
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events