Shortly after Gamestop announced its decision to keep their stores open, it seems that it was only a matter of time until actual government authorities had to step in themselves in order to stop a multimillion-dollar company from spreading Covid-19.
It started in Pennsylvania when Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf pulled Gamestop’s business licenses by force, classifying it as one of “non-life-sustaining” businesses and in hopes to prevent the virus’ spread even further. After this incident, Gamestop announced they will be closing all customer access to their physical storefronts across the US, but will keep their online and digital sales operational, alongside with curbside deliveries. Additionally, governors from California and New York have also made the call to close all non-essential businesses within their states. Of course, these chain of events all started due to Gamestop’s refusal to take the memo, considering the upcoming releases of both Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal.
To make matters worse, the retailer was hit with a series of public relations missteps via allegations of unethical business practices. For instance, pulling up a ‘business as usual’ attitude and putting staff in risk of infection, by having them receiving and handling physical products & inventory. According to a reddit post, Gamestop is no longer considered “essential retail” and will have its business licenses suspended until further notice by the PA state.
As of this article’s publication, Gov. Wolf has granted an extension to all recently affected businesses (Gamestop included) to continue their operations and wind down before closing. The state is also beginning to enforce stricter closures and will even enforce fines to those who oppose them. Other retail businesses that are classified as “electronic” or “hobby” are also expected to close. Bad news for Gamestop employees however, is that it’s still unknown whether the company will support them in any way or not as closures become more and more apparent and widespread for their stores.