Eric Artz: REI Retail Stores to Temporarily Close Amid COVID-19

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Editor’s note on May 13, 2020: Read the new letter from our CEO explaining our COVID-19 response, including new services and store reopenings. Visit this FAQ for current details about orders and returns.

To Our Co-op Community, 

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 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 


Read more: FAQs regarding REI’s recent store closures

Editor’s note on March 24, 2020: This letter was originally published on March 15. After a great deal of careful consideration, we have decided to maintain closure of our 162 retail stores beyond the original March 27 date. We’ve updated the dates in the letter above to reflect this change. While our stores are closed, our website remains open for business and we are continuing to waive standard shipping fees on REI.com purchases (exclusions apply). For answers to questions regarding the closures, please visit our FAQs.

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