GAME is closing its Belong gaming cafes due to help limit the spread of coronavirus, while keeping its stores open. In an announcement this afternoon, the retailer announced that the arenas will close until further notice.
The statement says that "the welfare of our employees, players, and communities is paramount, and we recognise that these new measures help protect that." However, the company's traditional retail stores remain open, having allowed it to profit from launch weekend sales of both Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal. According to a report from Eurogamer, the Basingstoke head office is also still open, with staff expected to show up to work unless they're at risk, expressing symptoms, or living with someone who's already ill.
With customers pouring in all weekend to pick up physical copies of what are undoubtedly the two biggest releases of 2020 so far, many of the company's employees will have been put at unnecessary risk all week. The company will also have benefited from keeping its Belong arenas open all weekend, putting profit first at a time when the need for social distancing is become increasingly apparent.