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GameStop temporarily closes its stores after instructing staff to ignore coronavirus lockdown

GameStop will now temporarily close its retail locations across the US and adopt a delivery-only approach starting March 22, the company announced today.

This follows an earlier decision from company executives to keep its stores open even in the event of a full lockdown, claiming that it is "essential retail" like grocery stores and pharmacies - which are both exempt from enforced shutdowns.

A letter obtained by Kotaku from GameStop CEO George Sherman tells store associates that GameStop stores that remain open will only offer "Delivery at the Door" service, where customisers will retrieve their order curbside at the door of the store.

Additionally, GameStop is introducing new pay policy updates. Hourly employees who are eligible for paid time-off will receive two weeks of additional pay, while those who are not PTO eligible will receive two additional weeks of base pay calculated on the weekly average number of hours they've worked in the past 10 weeks.

"I want to thank you all for your hard work as we continue to adjust our operations in response to the rapidly evolving coronavirus, COVID-19," the letter begins. "The health and safety of each of you as well as our customers is paramount and we have, and will continue to, take extensive precautions consistent with CDC guidelines. Whether you have been impacted by store closures, reduced store hours, school closures or being limited in visiting an older loved-one, we know that this outbreak is impacting all of you, personally and professionally, in different ways. We will continue to adjust our operations based on any future local, state or federal developments and I hope that as always, you exercise caution and safety through these unprecedented times.

"I know that a number of you have been voluntarily coming t work to support the millions of Americans facing unprecedented challenges as we adapt to a new normal. We believe we have and can continue to have a positive impact during this very challenging time.

"We continue to closely monitor local, state and federal updates and guidelines and we are complying with all state, county and local ordinances. However, let me state clearly, in any location that continues to operate, we will not make you work if you don't feel comfortable doing so. Please coordinate with your supervisor if that is the case. We respect that everyone has personal situations and preferences, so your decision will not impact your position with the company."

It was only last Thursday that GameStop notified its workers that retail stores would remain open.

“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 retailer said in a memo to staff.

“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.”

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