Several Hobby Lobby locations across the country appeared to defy local ordinances on the closure of non-essential businesses this week and opened their stores to the public, according to local media reports.
According to WOSU radio in Columbus, at least five Hobby Lobby stores in the area re-opened this week under normal business hours, despite an order from Gov. Mike DeWine on March 22 to close all non-essential businesses in the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Hobby Lobby's business practices prompted a tweet from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on Tuesday, who said he received tips that chain had re-opened for business despite closing earlier this week.
"Hobby Lobby properly closed its stores during Ohio's stay-home order. Now they're open again — what's changed? Neither the order, nor the seriousness of the health threat, for sure," Yost tweeted.
Hobby Lobby properly closed its stores during Ohio’s stay-home order.
Now they’re open again — what’s changed? Neither the order, nor the seriousness of the health threat, for sure.
I sent a cease & desist letter to their general counsel. https://t.co/HVqDhFfhqo
— Dave Yost (@Yost4Ohio) April 1, 2020
Yost later tweeted that he had received an email from the general counsel of Hobby Lobby saying that they were closing their stores in Ohio.
Local media reports indicate that state officials later ordered the closure of Hobby Lobby locations in Indiana and some stores Wisconsin. It's unclear if locations in Colorado and Tennessee remain open for business.
Hobby Lobby did not immediately respond to a request for comment about any directives its corporate office has sent to local stores about operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.