Pablo Balza, Sports Reporter
EB Games closed all of its stores on March 20 following a backlash by the public, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
Two highly sought-after video games, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and DOOM Eternal, were released just as governments were imposing distancing protocols to battle the COVID-19 outbreak.
Medical experts and politicians saw customers outside a downtown EB Games store lined up along Yonge Street, south of Dundas Street, on March 20, breaking the two-metre (six feet) distancing rule.
Torontonians took to Twitter after many customers stepped out to get video-games ignoring the social distancing recommendations during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The company website noted its stores across the country were closed as of March 20 and is taking orders online.
Stephanos Perdikis, a Kinesiology student at York University and a fan of video games, said it’s easier to buy games online.
“People should stay home since they can go on the internet and buy the game online which is way easier,” Perdikis said.
Justin Scire, a Broadcast student at Humber, said video games help him destress.
“Video games are a way for me to forget what’s going on in the world and my life,” he said.
But Ford said he is frustrated with the store owner.
“It’s unacceptable. This is exactly what causes the spread when people gather in close proximity to each other,” Ford said.
“If you’re a parent and you know your child is going down there, don’t let them go down there,” he said.
In an interview with 680 News, Mayor John Tory expressed “profound displeasure” with EB Games Canada and said he does not blame the people who left their homes.
Tory accused EB Games Canada that opening the store was not an act of good corporate citizenship.
“They were asked to close down if they were not an essential business but they chose not to do so and in doing so they placed commerce over ahead of public interest,” Tory said.
“I don’t blame the people who lined up, if the store wouldn’t have been open, they wouldn’t have lined up.”