California Forces The Closure Of All GameStop Locations Within The State, Despite Earlier Defiance

California Forces The Closure Of All GameStop Locations Within The State, Despite Earlier Defiance
Credit: Mike Mozart via Flickr (license)

Yesterday, GameStop made waves in the news world by defiantly stating that its locations would remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, because they provide “essential retail.”

One state that was not buying that line was California. Today it was announced that GameStop would be closing all of its California retail stores indefinitely, just 24 hours after it had instructed all US employees to disregard any lockdown orders issued by the government.

California Governor Gavin Newsom put out an executive order yesterday that requires all California residents to stay home or at their place of residence. This was done in an attempt to minimise the spread of COVID-19, and it is a step other states are likely to enact.

Typically, retailers that are considered “essential businesses,” like pharmacies and grocery stores, are exempt from these rulings. GameStop believed themselves to be such a business and the California state government disagreed.

“We are closing our stores in California,” GameStop said in a statement. “The closure will remain in effect until further notice as we obtain more information from the California Governor’s Office.”

It has also been reported that GameStop will not be paying its employees during this time period, though some full-time staff might be able to use their sick days and personal vacation days for paid leave.

When GameStop defended its decision to remain open, it noted that it was “instituting multiple social distancing practices,” and “providing all stores with the necessary supply of disinfectant materials and hand sanitizer.” It was also going to be limiting stores to 10 customers at a time and suspending all game and console trade-ins through March 29.

It is no secret in the gaming industry that GameStop has been hurting as of late. Back in December, the retailer reported massive losses, citing the upcoming release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles as to why sales have dipped so low. According to GameStop, anticipation of the release of these new gaming consoles led to a large drop in current sales as gamers save up for this large future purchase.

If more states follow through with California’s mandate, forcing GameStop locations to close, the retailer could see astronomical losses in the coming months.

Depending on how long the global pandemic lasts, GameStop could miss out on the releases of both Final Fantasy VII Remake and The Last of Us Part 2 in April and May respectively. These highly anticipated releases were sure to be big money days for the struggling retailer.