As the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States — and federal, state and local officials call for social distancing — Patagonia is making a bold move.
“We will temporarily close our stores, offices and other operations at the end of business on Friday, March 13,” wrote Rose Marcario, CEO and president of Patagonia Inc. on a memo posted on the company’s website. “Employees who can work from home will do so. All Patagonia employees will receive their regular pay during the closure. We apologize that over the next two weeks, there will be delays on orders and customer-service requests. We ask for your understanding and patience. We will reassess and post an update on March 27.”
The shutdown also extends to the company’s website.
The move will undoubtedly cause business losses in the short term, but could prove to be a win with consumers.
“We encourage our friends everywhere to take the extra precautions necessary to safeguard their health and that of others. It’s everyone’s responsibility to help stop the spread of this virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and your local health authorities are the best resources for updates and answers to questions,” Marcario wrote in her memo. “Over the years, as our Patagonia community has been faced with challenges, I have always been inspired by how we emerge stronger and with an even deeper sense of purpose. We will persevere through this challenge, too.”
While many companies have implemented work-from-home policies amid the coronavirus epidemic, retailers have kept stores open — meaning that front-line workers continue to interact with consumers each day.
Patagonia has taken a strong stance on many social issues through the years. One of its biggest actions has been to fight back against the Trump administration in support of preserving public lands.
Will Patagonia’s latest move encourage more retailers to follow suit? Stay tuned.