An alleged leaked GameStop corporate memo has revealed more claims that GameStop are attempting to remain open during the coronavirus outbreak.
Editor’s Note: We have cropped the second half of the page, which is blank apart from the bottom right corner with “03/19/20, 2”. You can find the archived image in full here.
For those who cannot see the above image or are using machine translation, the above memo is titled “Store Letter to Law Enforcement.” Sent on March 19th (and categorized as “Public Relations”) it states the following:
“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 remail open during this time.
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.
[…] Contact your District Manager with questions.”
Vice also reports that they have been in contact with five GameStop staff (who were “from all over, including the midwest and east coast”), also confirming they received the memo. The letter to be handed to law enforcement reportedly states:
“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:
GameStop Corporate Office
Thank you for understanding.”
UPDATE: Shortly after this news broke, GameStop issued a tweet and statement, reiterating they were taking preventative measures. These include only allowing 10 customers into their stores at a time, a 6 foot parameter between checkout lines and customers, and reducing store opening times to 12 til 8 p.m. (until March 29th).
They will also be offering home delivery, halting the trade-in of video games (until March 29th), postponing all events and midnight launches until further notice, disabling interactive gaming stations, and encouraging customers to use online services.
The news seems to support earlier claims (via Camelot) that GameStop were abusing legal loopholes to remain open during the coronavirus outbreak.
The loophole in question was to categorize GameStop as a purely electronic company, and therefore “essential.” The allegation also claims that any authorities attempting to close the stores will be sued.
Rather worryingly, this also included claims that GameStop had not sent out hand sanitizers to stores, that they would still accept tech trades, and that at least one member of store staff had the virus. They were sent home, but their store appeared to remain open.
This is in direct contradiction to the preventative measures GameStop claims they made. The press release statement released then (on March 17th) is the same as the one GameStop linked to today in their tweet.
Gamestop also announced they would be selling Doom Eternal one day early, so as not to spread the coronavirus when Animal Crossing: New Horizons launches on the same day.
As an aside, one poster on the GameStop subreddit claims a regular customer gave his store hand sanitizers, further adding credence to the claim the corporate office has not sent any out.
While these are claims from alleged current GameStop staff, we encourage our readers to follow advice from their local authorities on staying safe during this time.
This includes the postponement and cancellation of GDC and E3 2020 respectively. At this time, Gamescom 2020 is still being prepared, with organizers monitoring local regulations and the virus’ spread.
The Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering are mapping the virus’ spread [1, 2]. As of this time of writing, there have been over 240,000 confirmed cases worldwide, and over 9,800 deaths. Nearly 85,000 people have made a “total recovery.” On March 11th, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak “can be categorized as a pandemic.”