EB Games Canada has come under fire for allowing the release of a new game, prompting long line-ups outside their Toronto store amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Toronto recommended all non-essential stores to close, including retail stores, in order to keep up with the practice of social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The video game retailed announced Thursday they would be closing stores to walk-in traffic, but would still allow those who had ordered the games “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” and “Doom” to pick them up. They would also be only limiting 10 customers to be in the store at a time.
However, that didn’t stop customers from lining up outside prior to the opening of the store at 11 a.m.
CityNews spoke with some of those people outside of EB Games’ Yonge and Dundas streets location near the Eaton Centre about their decision to wait in line despite all the recommendations.
“No amount of pandemic would ever come between me and getting this game. I’m out in public all day anyways so I’ll take the risk,” one person said.
Another couple said they were new users to the came and they were taking precautions, like keeping a distance from people, but said “you do what you gotta do for Animal Crossing.”
Premier Doug Ford was asked about the line-ups during a press conference Friday and called it “unacceptable.”
“It’s unacceptable. Please, please, please do not get in line. Practice active social distancing. This is exactly what causes the spread when they gather. It’s frustrating when I hear stories like this. I’m frustrated with the store owner who allowed this to happen.”
He was also asked whether he would consider fines for the store owners. Ford said they would be sending over bylaw officers or police to speak with store owners, but added “Isn’t it a shame that we have to go to this degree when we just over and over emphasize that we have to do this and some people ignore the advice. You are putting everyone else into danger. Please do not create these environments.”
Mayor John Tory also commented on the lines, calling it, “not a good act of good corporate citizenship.”
Several people online were criticizing EB Games as well as customers lining up.
I have supported ebgames and GameStop for years. This leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. I will not be picking up my pre-order and I’ll get a deposit refund later. This is NOT an essential service. People can download from home. Let your employees be safe.
— Indoor, Hand-Washing Weeb Trash (@zellerpins) March 19, 2020
cancelled my pre order for animal crossing at ebgames and just going to get it digitally instead. don’t want to support a company that is forcing their employees to work during a literal pandemic !!!
— brendan (@brensuddz) March 18, 2020
Late Friday, EB Games Canada said all its stores would close at the end of the business Friday.
“Like many retailers, we will continue to monitor COVID-19 closely with the commitment to open again at a time we feel both our team and customers are safe,” it said in a post on social media.
The company said it will still offer products online.