Hobby Lobby is continuing to face backlash for their decision to keep their doors open amid the coronavirus pandemic. With business across the country being forced to temporarily close mid stay-at-home and shelter in place orders, the Oklahoma-based craft store has continued to defy those orders, reopening stores just days after closing them under the premise that they are essential businesses due to sales of educational materials and products for home-based businesses.
In an internal memo, Randy Betts, vice president of store operations, explained to managers the proper way to handle scenarios in which they are approached by local authorities ordering their stores to close. In the email, Betts told managers to "identify the specific reason within the emergency order that provides that store permission to be open," such as "we sell educational materials, because we sell products for home based businesses, or because we sell materials to make PPE (personal protective equipment.)"
The decision to remain open has prompted concern among employees, many of whom feel Hobby Lobby isn't justified in their stance that they are an essential business and claiming that stores do not have the necessary supplies to properly sanitize to keep both employees and customers safe.
Hobby Lobby's refusal to shutter stores has also been met with backlash from social media, some users taking to the company's latest tweets to call them out on their decision.
"Never will shop here again!" tweeted one person. "I don't care what you sell! CLOSE YOUR STORES!"
Hobby Lobby has decided to stay open, despite "stay at home orders" in several states. Take some time today to leave a Google review on one of their stores. pic.twitter.com/7TESCNpNgv— Shane Morris (@IamShaneMorris) April 1, 2020
"Closed on Sundays for church but won't protect employees from a pandemic. Separation of church and craft!" commented another person. "Shop from indie craft suppliers on Etsy. Find what you need and you won't have to wait in a long line while they MANUALLY enter the price on their antiquated register system."prevnext
"Please switch to online orders only and close your stores for the health of your employees and your community," wrote somebody else.
"You think my community needs craft supplies?" asked one person. "My church is closed during Lent! You have online shopping, close your stores!"
"I will never shop at Hobby Lobby again," vowed one former customer. "They are putting the employees at risk... what a DEVIL the owner is.... we need to start a movement from shopping at your stores..."prevnext
"Interesting that a company that cares so much about the 'sanctity of life' that it wouldn't pay for its employees' birth control, but thinks it's totally fine to subject them to a potentially deadly virus," responded one person.
"Time for the authorities to seize control of these stores and to close them down permanently," added somebody else.prevnext
"You have lost my business until the end of time," tweeted one person. "You should be ashamed. You are putting lives at risk."
"Close your stores! Now," demanded one.prevnext
"If you're not going to close can we at least make curbside order a thing like Michael's?" suggested one person. "It would cut down significantly on customer and employee interaction."
"Hobby Lobby This is reckless and you could be sued if a link can be made to an infection in your non-essential store," tweeted another. "Do curb-side service if your prayers aren't enough to keep things running."prevnext
"Close your stores," demanded one person. "Staying open is irresponsible and endangering your employees and your customers."
"Absolutely not. Give ALL your employees, including part time, paid time off that is not their sick/vacation time and close your stores," tweeted somebody else. "You are not essential."
"Why are you guys breaking Colorado's shelter-in-place order?" asked another. "You're not an essential business."prevnext
"Hobby Lobby [does] not sell anything that people have to have!!" added somebody else. "Close them up & Fine Him!!"
"Hope you reported them for endangering lifes," tweeted another person. "If I find their stores open around here, you bet I'm going to call the county health department. Our mayor says there's already some 200 businesses that have been cited and are facing fines in the past weeks."prev