GameStop closing U.S. storefronts to customers amid COVID-19 pandemic

GameStop will close customer access to its U.S. storefronts and introduce a new curbside pick-up option to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

GameStop will close customer access to its U.S. storefronts and introduce a new curbside pick-up option to help combat the spread of COVID-19. 

The move comes just days after the retailer indicated it would remain open in the face of the coronavirus pandemic because it was an 'essential retailer.'

A leaked memo sent out by company execs (and obtained by Kotaku) instructed store managers to keep shops open at all costs, even if it meant defying the orders of law enforcement. 

"We have received reports of local authorities visiting stores in an attempt to enforce closure despite our classification," read a portion of that memo. "Store Managers are approved to provide the document linked below (classifying the company as an 'essential retailer') to law enforcement as needed."

Now, however, it seems the higher-ups have had a change of heart, and GameStop will now "temporarily stop customer access to storefronts" in all locations not already closed in accordance with state and local orders -- such as in California

Moving forward, the company will also only be processing digital orders, although it will allow customers to utilize curbside pick-up and home delivery options. 

Those employees who don't feel comfortable working during the COVID-19 pandemic will be permitted to stay at home, while anyone whose hours have been eliminated will be paid two weeks at their regular pay rate based on the average hours worked over the last 10 weeks.

GameStop chief exec George Sherman said the new approach will address the "unprecedented" situation the company finds itself while protecting its employees. 

"We have been steadfast in our adherence to CDC-guided safety and local government orders for retailers in each of our communities," he commented. "As millions of Americans look to GameStop to adjust to their new normal of increased time at home, for work, learning and play, we have implemented practices to help ensure the safety and health of our employees, customers and partners.

"We believe it is prudent to institute further safety protocols while meeting this increased demand through curbside pick-up.  As such, stores that remain in operation will provide only pick-up at the door or delivery to home activities to further protect our employees and customers."

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