Hobby Lobby Reopened Stores in States With Coronavirus Lockdowns

Bethany Biron, reporting for Business Insider:

On Monday, the company resumed business in several states where it had been forced to temporarily close. A March 28 memo obtained by Business Insider equipped managers with talking points for “how to respond and communicate if visited by a local authority that asks why we are open.”

In a separate leaked note sent last week, executives wrote that the company “is going to make every effort to continue working the employees.”

The reopenings include stores in Ohio and Wisconsin — which both enacted strict shelter-in-place orders on March 24 — where nearly all Hobby Lobby locations have been reopened after shuttering for only one week. During calls Business Insider made to each location, employees confirmed that all 19 Hobby Lobby locations in Ohio were open as of Monday afternoon, as were 17 out of 20 stores in Wisconsin that were still listed as “temporarily closed” on Google.

Of the three stores closed in Wisconsin, at least one was forcibly shuttered by police officers after briefly opening on Monday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. An employee at that store told Business Insider on Monday it was closed but that employees were there “working on projects.” A similar incident was reported in Jeffersonville, Indiana, where local authorities forced a store to close after it was open for one hour on Monday morning, the CBS-affiliated news outlet WLKY reported.

“Working the employees”. What a phrase. This defiance of state orders is outrageous, but unsurprising from a company owned by rightwing nutbags. The police should shutter every one of these stores.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020