STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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 22, 2020 9:01 PM
Updated: Mar 22, 2020 9:01 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."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 21774

Reported Deaths: 368
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah501498
Washington316125
Marion297973
Umatilla231230
Clackamas157144
Malheur82213
Deschutes61610
Lane5963
Jackson4862
Yamhill47013
Lincoln4199
Union3952
Jefferson3774
Morrow3773
Polk32612
Linn29611
Klamath2042
Hood River2010
Wasco1943
Benton1716
Douglas1561
Josephine1242
Columbia1010
Coos910
Clatsop890
Crook501
Baker400
Tillamook340
Lake320
Wallowa191
Curry170
Sherman160
Harney100
Gilliam40
Grant40
Wheeler00
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 578946

Reported Deaths: 10523
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2108744999
Riverside41983820
Orange40527724
San Bernardino36072546
San Diego32975594
Kern24995183
Fresno17846171
San Joaquin13870235
Alameda13631205
Santa Clara12962207
Sacramento12274179
Tulare11549198
Stanislaus10264169
Imperial9867244
Contra Costa9787146
Ventura874093
San Francisco769267
Santa Barbara699672
San Mateo6431122
Merced573670
Monterey549437
Marin540481
Kings445356
Solano427441
Sonoma375350
Madera246339
Placer237724
San Luis Obispo227817
Yolo183444
Santa Cruz12876
Butte12388
Napa112911
Sutter9967
San Benito7654
El Dorado7552
Lassen6830
Yuba6664
Mendocino47210
Shasta46910
Glenn4363
Colusa3965
Nevada3571
Tehama3031
Humboldt2864
Lake2402
Amador1853
Mono1581
Tuolumne1552
Calaveras1471
Inyo1063
Siskiyou1020
Del Norte1000
Mariposa622
Plumas360
Modoc50
Trinity50
Sierra40
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 89°
Brookings
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 60°
Crater Lake
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 83°
Grants Pass
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 88°
Klamath Falls
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 83°
Sunny and warmer Thursday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events