Doom: Eternal is scheduled to launch on March 20, but GameStop has announced that its stores will have the game available for purchase a day early.
With the simultaneous releases of Doom: Eternal and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, large crowds were expected at stores across the country. The retailer announced the decision to release the game early on Twitter, citing health risks for both employees and customers.
“To ensure we adhere to CDC-recommended social distancing guidelines, we will be selling DOOM Eternal a day early on Thursday, 3/19 as a safety precaution for our customers and associates. Animal Crossing will release on Friday 3/20 to further help separate the crowds,” GameStop said in a tweet late Wednesday.
Despite pleas from fans earlier this week, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is still scheduled for release on Mar. 20.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends canceling all gatherings of more than 50 people; White House officials advise Americans to limit groups to fewer than 10 people.
Moving the release date for Doom: Eternal isn’t the only measure GameStop is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A message on their website lists measures stores are taking, such as sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces more frequently, although some employees say these changes aren’t nearly enough.