Video game retail giant GameStop called itself “essential retail” in a memo to employees, instructing them to keep stores open — despite local governments around America issuing lockdowns amid the coronavirus crisis, Kotaku reported.
“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 memo obtained by Kotaku said.
Additionally, the company allegedly advised its employees to argue with the authorities that GameStop was “essential retail,” like supermarkets or pharmacies, because it provides services that make the experience of working from home more enjoyable.
GameStop employees had already complained about the mediocre measures that the company was taking to protect employees and customers; while the sent a message to customers reassuring them that it was taking all the necessary steps to prevent contagion in their stores, employees noted that GameStop had not provided them with any cleaning supplies or hand sanitizer and that, although they were allowed to purchase and expense it, there just weren’t enough supplies available, with backlogs of up to two months.
Another memo advised employees to stay home if they were experiencing coronavirus symptoms, but some employees also told VICE that instead of allowing for an emergency, GameStop is forcing them to use their personal time off, vacation and sick days, with no pay in place.