Hobby Lobby Closes Stores: While most major retailers have shut down their stores during the coronavirus pandemic, the arts and crafts store Hobby Lobby has refused. The company used a faith-based argument for why it was trying to stay open. But the demand has only gone so far, as Hobby Lobby announced it is shutting down its stores.
Hobby Lobby announced it would close up its stores after the business day ends on April 3. The stores will continue to remain closed until further notice. The store’s employees will be furloughed without pay. A significant number of corporate and distribution employees have also been furloughed.
The move comes after a few Hobby Lobby locations had shut down, only for a few to reopen. The most dramatic issue came from how Hobby Lobby had utilized a faith-based approach to staying open.
Hobby Lobby has more than 800 stores around the United States. There are about 37,500 employees with the company throughout the country.
The Original Argument
Hobby Lobby locations that were in areas where non-essential businesses had to shut down were closed. But the stores that were not in those areas were remaining open. A message from CEO David Green from March 19 made its way on social media, as the letter suggested that the company’s strong Christian values would protect the store.
Green said that his wife, who is his family’s “prayer warrior,” received a message from God saying that God is in control over the situation. The belief was that God would protect Hobby Lobby and its workers. The point led to Green having a desire to keep the store open.
There were also reports that Green wanted to convince people that Hobby Lobby is essential business. Whether or not Green was planning this point is unclear.
The Final Decision
The main concern for Hobby Lobby is that other stores were closing, and almost every state has issued stay-home orders. Hobby Lobby was aiming to position itself as essential business, claiming it offers homeschooling supplies and materials necessary for making face masks and other forms of protective equipment.
A Powerful Christian Belief
This move from Hobby Lobby is a dramatic change from the store’s protocol. Hobby Lobby is a business that holds a strong Christian belief. Hobby Lobby closes on Sundays, and the store has many religious-themed items in its stores during critical Christian holidays. The company also posts religious-themed advertisements in newspapers during the Easter and Christmas holidays. There were criticisms in the past over Hobby Lobby not carrying items relating to Jewish holidays, although the store has started stocking those items in some markets.
Hobby Lobby was in the news in 2014 when it successfully won a case that allowed the company and other groups to be exempt from the Affordable Care Act based on religious values. The Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby case reached the Supreme Court. The main concern for Hobby Lobby was that the Affordable Care Act had regulations stating that companies should offer health insurance that covers emergency contraception.