Is Guitar Centre an “essential” business? Not according to the Kansas City Health Department. After defying the city’s stay-at-home order by continuing business in its 700,000 square-foot warehouse, the retailer was ordered by Kansas City Health officials to suspend further operations. That’s according to Music Trades News.
Stay at home
The industry publication reported that Kansas City code enforcement personnel, along with the Kansas City police, had to show up to the instrument retailer’s warehouse to shut down all activities. The stay-at-home order issued by Mayor Quinton Lucas on the 24th of March to battle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, allows only “essential” businesses to carry on running. It appears that the company was in violation of that order.
Is Guitar Centre an “essential” business?
Guitar Centre has maintained that it counts as an essential business, but hasn’t quite specified how it fits that criteria. The management also argued that the highly automated facility follows a strict cleaning regimen, and is staffed in a way that makes it possible for employees to maintain the recommended 6-foot distance. Unfortunately for them, city officials were not convinced.
Kansas City spokesperson Chris Hernandez stated that the company did not qualify as an essential business. Spokesperson for the Kansas City Health Department, Bill Snook, said that the retailer had already received two previous warnings from the city before finally making the decision to close its facility.
The cost of shutting down
The warehouse employs about three hundred people in three shifts, and processes orders from all of Guitar Centre’s online platforms including Musician’s Friend, GuitarCenter.com, and Woodwind&Brasswind.com. The company has already had to furlough 9000 employees last month, and has been plagued with debt. According to Music Trades News, it also seems that the company has stopped payment to vendors at the moment, in a bid to save money. Is that an indicator that Guitar Center is headed for insolvency?
As of now, all operations in the Kansas facility have been suspended. We’ll keep you up to date.
Edit: Guitar Center reopens. You can read more about it here.