IGN obtained internal memos sent from GameStop corporate informing them that stores should remain open despite the pandemic (as first reported by Kotaku).
“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.”
GameStop in the News Timeline
The internal memo provided to IGN also informs employees what to do in case local authorities attempt to close the store. “We have received reports of local authorities visiting stores in an attempt to enforce closure despite our classification. Store managers are approved to provide the document linked below to law enforcement as needed,” the notice reads.
The memo then links to a simple printout that directs questions about GameStop’s policies to its corporate office phone number.
Several employees, who wish to remain anonymous for fear of repercussion, have shared their stories in dealing with GameStop’s corporate office amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
“GameStop corporate is putting its employees at risk of COVID-19,” one concerned GameStop employee claimed to IGN. “They aren’t closing stores and they aren’t offering paid time off. They are still pushing their employees to advertise events at their stores that will draw crowds of people.” GameStop has since canceled midnight launches for Doom Eternal and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. GameStop also announced it will sell Doom Eternal early to help keep crowds small.
Another GameStop employee located in a city that recently ordered non-essential businesses to close also reached out to IGN about their concerns. “We are not getting cleaning supplies. But GameStop is still telling its guests we are getting them and cleaning high traffic surfaces,” the anonymous employee said.One of the main complaints from employees is the alleged difficulty in getting clear answers from GameStop’s corporate office. Despite multiple daily correspondences with GameStop corporate, employees reportedly did not receive answers on whether they would have to close their stores or not. Furthermore, it’s been difficult for employees to figure out how they might be affected financially if their stores are closed, according to our sources.
One GameStop employee working in a county that declared a “Bunker in place” order, which closed non-essential businesses for several weeks revealed how difficult it was to communicate with GameStop on how to handle the situation.
“Our corporate representatives notified us hourly of how GameStop would proceed.” However, they claimed that GameStop told employees of the store to ‘continue business as usual.’” Multiple sources have also told IGN that GameStop corporate is using phone calls so as to not leave a paper trail.
One California-based GameStop employee told IGN that GameStop is utilizing a section in a ‘Shelter in Place’ order that exempts “Essential Infrastructure” to remain open during a lockdown.
Some items have been difficult to procure during the COVID-19 emergency. Items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies have been scarce since emergency lockdowns have come in place across the country.
As for webcams and keyboards, businesses like IGN do require these for our production needs. As IGN’s senior director of video production Dave Toole says,
“We haven’t had any issues finding mic setups using sources like B&H (Photo, Video, and Pro Audio), but quality webcams have been impossible to find. We had to pull webcams from IGN’s conferences, using the Logitech c922 as a minimum benchmark in quality.”
However, these aren’t items that should require people under lockdown or shelter in place orders to leave their social distancing. This is more applicable to items like groceries, pharmacies, and even take-out delivery.