REI Is Closing Its 162 Stores Temporarily Due to the Coronavirus and Will Continue to Pay Employees

The escalating coronavirus crisis is forcing retailers both domestically and abroad to close doors temporarily. And late Sunday, outdoor standout REI revealed in a statement from its president and CEO, Eric Artz, that its 162 locations would close starting Monday.

“After a great deal of careful consideration, we are temporarily closing our 162 retail stores nationwide starting tomorrow, March 16, until March 27,” Artz wrote in a statement. “I believe that is the right thing for our community. In fact, I believe it is our duty — to do all we can to help keep one another safe in this unprecedented moment.”

In the statement, the executive stated REI store employees would still be paid during this time.

“That also means all employees from our stores will be paid during this temporary closure. And, even with our stores closed, we will be working hard to do everything we can to continue to serve our customers,” Artz wrote. “All orders through REI.com will get free shipping while our stores are closed. Customers who have questions about gear and local outdoor activities that they’d normally ask in our stores can get answers through our digital community, REI Conversations and Co-op Journal will feature articles that help people find ways to get outside even during these challenging times.”

This new announcement of the store closures comes five days after Artz, with the coronavirus starting to spread quickly and several retailers taking precautions to keep employees and customers safe, said REI stores would remain open and that the company would be “increasing the frequency and rigor and cleaning and [sanitizing]” in its stores, distribution centers and offices.

REI is the latest leader in the outdoor market to announce the temporary closure of stores due to the coronavirus. On Friday, Patagonia president and CEO Rose Marcario wrote in a statement via the company’s website that “stores, offices and other operations” would close at the end of the business day and that all employees will be paid during the closure. (This also includes the company’s website.) The executive also stated the company will reassess the status of the closure and post an update on March 27.

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