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Minnesota and Vermont are moving to classify grocery store employees as emergency workers. And why not? In emergencies, stores are filled with emergency workers. (That can change back again, officially, once an emergency is over.) It's become apparent now more than ever just how important the supply chain is that keeps this country running, and nourished.

People making food and products, truckers delivering them to brick and mortar locations, mail and delivery services bringing products to those who can't go out, and grocery store workers who keep the supplies on the shelves: They're all necessary. That's why, even in a country that's mostly shut down, you'll find grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations still running. We need access to fuel, food and medicine at all times.

But some businesses might not be as essential as others. GameStop, for example, one of the leading video game stores in the United States. The company recently announced it intends to keep stores open, in spite of warnings from officials.

The store argued its products "enable and enhance our customers' experience in working from home," and that it should be classified as "essential retail." We hope by the time you read this, that has changed.

(Even weirder, GameStop doesn't need to keep its doors open during a pandemic when it has a digital presence. People can hop on GameStop's website and purchase the exact same video games, actually even more video games, than they can in stores.)

Kroger, yes. GameStop, no. Let's not overstretch the meaning of essential. To do so would be to insult those who are necessary in this crisis.

Editorial on 03/21/2020

Print Headline: Definition of 'essential'


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