Ohio Attorney General says Hobby Lobby to close again

Hobby Lobby and other stores known for selling craft supplies reopened area shops but are caught in the debate of what businesses count as being essential during a state-order to close all non-essential businesses.

The Hobby Lobby stores in Miamisburg, Beavercreek, Huber Heights and Mason re-opened this week, as did the store in Richmond, Ind.

Complete coronavirus coverage

Michaels, another craft store, has also opened, but they are only taking online orders for curbside pick-up. The Michaels at Bridgewater Falls, Miamisburg and Beavercreek are open for curbside pick-up.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sent a cease and desist letter to the general counsel of Hobby Lobby Wednesday after hearing that stores in the state were re-opening. Yost tweeted that Hobby Lobby properly closed when Ohio Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton issued the stay-at-home order, but re-opened even though the order hadn’t changed.

He tweeted again a few hours later, saying that the craft store had agreed to close their shops tonight in response.

Hobby Lobby primarily sells craft supplies but is also a source of material used in classrooms and by home-schoolers for educational purposes. In Ohio, schools and educational operations are considered essential so long as they are providing distance learning. Also considered essential, according ot the state ordered issued last week, are businesses that supply essential businesses.

An employee at the Beavercreek store Wednesday said Hobby Lobby is considered essential by their manager because the stores provide fabric and educational supplies.

Stores in Springfield and Hamilton remain closed Wednesday, according to the people who answered phones at the stores.

Police in Wisconsin, however, responded when Hobby Lobby opened 17 out of 20 stores in Wisconsin, according to Business Insider. Wisconsin is also under a stay-at-home order.

Police forced a store in West Allis, Wis. to close because it was violating an order on non-essential businesses, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

WKLY reported a similar response by police in Jefferson, Ind., about one hour after the store reopened on Monday.

Hobby Lobby has more than 900 stores nationwide. Thirty-two states have enacted shelter-in-place orders, Business Insider reports.

A Hobby Lobby representative could not be reached for comment for this article.

MORE: What can small businesses do to survive COVID-19?

About the Authors