As of today, Best Buy is restricting access for all U.S. stores solely to employees and switching over to “contactless” curbside service for customer pick-ups, exchanges, and returns in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Best Buy CEO Corie Barry called the situation “unprecedented” in a company statement issued this weekend. “We are making the best decisions we can with two goals in mind: protecting employees, customers and their respective families, while trying our best to serve the millions of Americans who rely on us for increasingly vital technology,” he continued.
The major tech retailer said this protocol would remain in place “on an interim basis,” an open-ended deadline several companies have built into their covid-19 responses in the face of the outbreak’s rapid and precarious spread.
If you roll up to a Best Buy location without an advanced online order, employees can still retrieve what you need and deliver it curbside provided that it’s in stock. Customers can also still have online orders sent to their homes directly, with the stipulation that larger appliances will exclusively be available for doorstep delivery and only “where permitted” beginning Monday. All in-home installations and repairs, as well as trade-in and recycling services, have similarly been suspended for the time being.
“We are seeing a surge in demand across the country for products that people need to work or learn from home, as well as those products that allow people to refrigerate or freeze food,” Barry continued. “As we meet the demand for these necessities, we are adjusting how we operate in many ways to improve safety.”
According to an email sent to customers, all Best Buy employees currently on the job are there on “a voluntary basis” with hazard pay provided. Employees without hours at the moment “will be paid for two weeks at their normal wage rate based on their average hours worked over the last 10 weeks.”
The company also said it’s paying any employees who need to stay home because they feel sick, have been exposed to covid-19, or need to care for children, though neither the email nor the press statement goes into detail regarding this rate or how long it’ll be provided.