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'Essential' Hobby Lobby Keeps Trying to Reopen Stores Amid Virus

Arts and crafts chain has been defying stay-at-home orders, states are pushing back
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2020 10:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – Although parents holed up at home with young kids during the coronavirus outbreak may consider arts and crafts supplies a necessity to keep their little ones occupied, the state of Colorado doesn't deem stores that sell those supplies as essential businesses. That's the gist of a cease-and-desist letter sent Wednesday by W. Eric Kuhn, the state's senior assistant attorney general, to Hobby Lobby, ordering the chain to close its stores during the pandemic, the New York Times reports. "For the avoidance of doubt, Hobby Lobby is not a 'critical business,'" Kuhn made clear in the letter, adding that by reopening its stores as it did this week, the chain was violating a "stay at home" March 25 executive order by Gov. Jared Polis mandating all businesses that aren't essential to temporarily shutter.

The chain takes issue with claims it's not essential, arguing it sells supplies for businesses still up and running in people's homes, as well as educational materials and materials to make DIY masks, reports CBS News, which adds that Hobby Lobby stores have been opening in Texas, Wisconsin, and Indiana as well. Ohio's attorney general, Dave Yost, recently sent a cease-and-desist letter to the retailer after stores reopened in his state. "I received a phone call within the hour from the general counsel of Hobby Lobby, informing us they were closing their stores tonight in Ohio in compliance with our ... letter," he tweeted Wednesday. The Christian Post reports that Hobby Lobby CEO David Green sent a letter to employees in mid-March noting that "while we do not know for certain what the future holds, or how long this disruption will last, we can all rest in knowing that God is in control." (Read more Hobby Lobby stories.)

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