GameStop Tells Employees to Ignore Law Enforcement, Not Shut Down During Lockdowns Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

With government officials encouraging businesses across the country to temporarily close amid the coronavirus pandemic, at least one company is going against the request. In a memo sent to employees, GameStop insisted that their stores can remain open even in areas under lockdown because it believes its business is classified as "essential retail."

In the memo, GameStop instructed employees to hand a flyer to law enforcement with a number for GameStop's corporate office should local authorities attempt to shut down their store, as they should be "classified as essential retail and therefore is able to remain open during this time." The flyer was shared by five employees with Vice and reads, in part, "Thank you for what you are doing to keep us all safe. If you have questions about our store’s hours, operations or policies could I ask you to please call our corporate office."

"They've essentially said to disobey law enforcement in any state that shuts down non essential retail as they believe we are providing an essential service to people that shop at a video game store," one employee told the outlet.

It is unclear if law enforcement has attempt to close any of the company's more than 5,500 stores, which are located across multiple states and countries. In the U.S., several states have ordered the closure of non-essential retail businesses and have told citizens to "shelter in place," all in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 11,000 people in the country.

Responding to the report, GameStop, in a statement issued to Vice, again reiterated its belief that its stores are "essential retail," as they provide key equipment to work from home.

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"While GameStop is best known as a provider of gaming and home entertainment systems, we also offer a wide array of products and devices that are important to facilitate remote work, distance learning, and virtual connectivity," the statement read. "As millions of Americans face unprecedented challenges adapting to virtual learning, working and interaction, there is significant need for technology solutions and we are one of many providers of these products that are remaining open at this time. Schools, businesses and families are now suddenly dependent on being able to connect through technology."

"While there are many businesses and organizations far more critical than ours, we believe we can have a positive impact during this very challenging time," it added. "The health and safety of our employees and customers is of utmost importance and we have and will continue to take extensive precautions consistent with CDC guidelines. We are complying with all state, county, city and local ordinances and we will continue to adjust to any future developments."