Some Hobby Lobby stores in locations where stay-at-home orders have been issued are continuing to operate. Under such orders, all non-essential businesses are required to close. In a memo leaked to Business Insider, Vice President of Store Operations Randy Betts ordered local managers to tell authorities that the store is essential and needs to remain open.
“There are emergency orders in effect throughout the country,” Bett wrote in the memo on March 28. “These could be issued by the state Governor, or the Country, or the city, and the federal government. In stores that are open, and there is an emergency order issued where that store is located, the DM needs to guide store management in how to respond and communicate if they are visited by a local authority that asks why we are open.”
“You and the DM must identify the specific reason within the emergency order that provides that store permission to be open,” it continued. “The reasons could be: because we sell educational materials, because we sell products for home based businesses, or because we sell materials to make PPE (personal protective equipment.) Or other reasons that can be identified in an order. You must inform the manager why we are allowed to be open.”
Betts also added that “if visited by an authority the most important thing the manager must convey is a respectful tone […] If they are told they need to close, it’s yes sir, yes ma’am, I will call my boss right now.”
Some employees are upset about the policy. One worker at a North Carolina store spoke to Business Insider.
“Hobby Lobby is fighting that we are an essential store,” the employee said. “There is absolutely nothing in Hobby Lobby worth spreading this illness. I’m honestly appalled at this company and the way it doesn’t care for its employees and only about making their money.””
Heath officials are urging people to remain in their homes as much as possible and avoid all social gatherings. Additionally, the CDC has issued some tips for helping to avoid contracting the disease.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.