REI Is Closing All of its Retail Stores Due to Coronavirus

In what has increasingly become a sign of the times, American outdoor gear retailer REI had announced that it will close all of its retail stores to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. The closure will begin today and run through March 27, in a move that the company’s leadership calls “he right thing for our community.” Going on to add, “In fact, we believe it is our duty—to do all we can to help keep one another safe in this unprecedented moment.”

REI isn’t the only major retailer to shut its doors during this unprecedented challenge to the health of the global community. Both Apple and Nike have also shuttered their retail outlets, along with a number of other major brands. These stores tend to be amongst the most crowded retail establishments, and as we all know by now, large crowds help spread the virus more quickly. By giving people fewer places to congregate while out in the world, the goal is to help reduce the opportunities for individuals to be exposed to the virus. It has also been demonstrated that the virus can live for up to three days on a surface, so these closures will also give the retailers a chance to clean and disinfect their outlets. Expect more stores to follow suit in the days ahead.

During the shut down of its brick and mortar stores, REI is offering free shipping on all orders made through its website. Considering that being outside, at least in small groups, is fairly safe and good for your overall health, perhaps stocking up on some outdoor gear isn’t a bad idea right now. If we’re all forced to go into quarantine, we’ll all desperately be looking for some fresh air at some point anyway, so get as much time outdoors while you can.

As of this writing, the coronavirus has infected more than 175,000 people worldwide and taken the lives of over 6700 people. Considering that it continues to spread at an alarming rate in many parts of the world, I would expect these stores to potentially extend their closure dates as they get closer to that March 27 deadline. It’s too early to know that for sure, and obviously these closures are hitting their bottomline hard right now, but at least here in the U.S., it seems that the virus is only just starting to get going. A full lockdown and closure of most nonessential stores could be coming and it could extend well into April.

As I’ve said in previous posts regarding this quickly changing situation. Stay healthy and safe folks.

Kraig Becker