REI Closes All Stores, Will Pay Employees

Outdoor sporting goods shop REI will close the doors at all its 162 retail stores nationwide.

REI is one of the largest outdoor retailers in the United States. And today through March 27, all its stores will close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But REI will continue to sell products online during its retail store closure.

On Sunday night, REI President and CEO Eric Artz posted a letter to his brand’s customers on the REI blog about the closure. He wrote that “all employees from our stores will be paid during this temporary closure.”

You can read his entire letter below.

COVID-19 Update From REI President and CEO Eric Artz

As the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread throughout the communities where we all live and work, we have consistently looked for ways to help protect the health and safety of our employees and customers. Since our founding, REI has been about doing the right thing for our community.

After a great deal of careful consideration, we are temporarily closing our 162 retail stores nationwide starting tomorrow, March 16, until March 27. 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.

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. 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.

We’ve always been deliberate and transparent when making significant decisions about our business. This is a difficult decision for any business, and I do not make it lightly. Our decisions are grounded in the belief that there are more important things than business right now — we owe that to one another.

Know that we will continue to work closely with our teams and public health officials throughout the country to understand how to best serve your needs, and serve our customers as soon as local conditions allow. We’ll continue to share information with our members and employees as we move forward together into a future that’s hard to predict.

In the meantime, thank you for your understanding, your patience and, most of all, for being a part of this incredible community. The outdoors remains a vital part of all our lives, especially in moments like this.

Be well and take care of one another.

My very best,

Eric Artz
President & CEO, REI Co-op

Sean McCoy
By

Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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