Despite previously making efforts to stay open amidst the coronavirus crisis (which led to a great amount of backlash), crafts store Hobby Lobby has now decided to close all stores across the country. This closure will also see the organization furloughing most employees as a result. In a statement posted on their website, Hobby Lobby detailed that these changes would go into effect on Friday, meaning that stores across the country are currently closed until further notice.
"We know our customers relied on us to provide essential products, including materials to make personal protective equipment, such as face masks, educational supplies for the countless parents who are now educating their children from home, and the thousands of small arts and crafts businesses who rely on us for supplies to make their products," their statement read, before detailing the safety efforts they implemented recently. "Over the past several weeks, we implemented several best practices to provide a safer shopping environment, including the installation of physical barriers between customers and cashiers, enhanced cleaning, and the enforcement of social distancing measures. We are prepared to reopen our stores in a responsible way when the current situation improves, and look forward to welcoming our valued customers back to our stores. Until then, we pray for those affected by the virus, protection for the health care professionals caring for the sick, economic security for all impacted businesses and employees, and wisdom for our leaders."
In many states across the country, lockdowns have been enacted which have called for all non-essential businesses to close. However, in states where those lockdowns have not been enacted yet, Hobby Lobby stores remained open, which led to much criticism from those online.
In late March, amidst this health crisis, Hobby Lobby owner and CEO David Green sent a letter to employees in which he detailed that the United States has endured "several calamities and disruptions," including the coronavirus. He went on to write that he had "every confidence that we, as a country and a company, will sustain and thrive again soon," and that Hobby Lobby locations in states without lockdown procedures in place would remain open. Green also noted in his message that his wife, Barbara, spoke "three profound words to remind us that He's in control."
As the coronavirus crisis continues to remain a grave problem for those in the United States (and for those around the world), Hobby Lobby has seemingly changed their tune and has, subsequently, temporarily closes all of their locations in the country.