British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told all Britons to stay at home to halt the spread of coronavirus, saying that all but essential shops must shut immediately and people should no longer meet family or friends or risk being fined.
I was asked earlier if Sports Direct should remain open and I said it should not.
In 2016, an MPs" report accused Sports Direct of "not treating staff like humans', with committee chairman Iain Wright saying evidence suggested working practices at the company were "closer to that of a Victorian workhouse than that of a modern, reputable High Street retailer".
In the email on Monday evening, the chief finance officer, Chris Wootton, told staff: "We stock a huge range of sports equipment designed for exercising at home ... indeed, home fitness is the number one trending topic on social media after coronavirus itself".
Sports Direct, Britain's largest retailer of sports goods, plans to keep its shops open amid the coronavirus outbreak, arguing that sports equipment should be considered essential, United Kingdom media reported citing a senior executive letter to staff.
He said in a "clarification" that they will remain shut, despite stating that government policy "excludes bicycle shops from closure". The company said in a statement: "Please note we are contacting them at all levels, including attempting to get confirmation from the prime minister".
"Consequently, we are uniquely well placed to help keep the United Kingdom as fit and healthy as possible during this crisis and thus our Sports Direct and Evans Cycles stores will remain open where possible to allow us to do this".
Sports Direct said it will remain shut for the time being after Mr Johnson ordered the immediate closure of non-essential stores, but B&Q is preparing to reopen to provide "only essential products" to customers and traders after being allowed to stay open.
Mike Ashley's Sports Direct has bowed to pressure from the government and the public by closing all of its stores after widespread anger that he meant to flout the United Kingdom lockdown. The government has now released an official list of the kind of shops that must close, with the exceptions.