March 25, 2020
Christian-owned Hobby Lobby–a private for-profit arts-and-crafts retail chain based in Oklahoma City—has announced in a memo to its 32,000 employees nationwide that its stores will not close during the COVID-19 pandemic, except in states where they has been ordered to do so.
Instead, the chain will take measures to help minimize risks to shoppers during the coronavirus pandemic and trust in God.
According to a report by The Christian Post, Hobby Lobby founder and CEO of David Green wrote to all the employees last week, “While we do not know for certain what the future holds, or how long this disruption will last, we can all rest in knowing that God is in control … To help ensure our Company remains strong and prepared to prosper once again when this passes, we may all have to ‘tighten our belts’ over the near future.”
Green said in the memo that his wife, Barbara, whom he called a “prayer warrior,” had heard the word of God. The CEO wrote, “The Lord put on Barbara’s heart three profound words to remind us that He’s in control. ‘Guide, Guard, and Groom.’ We serve a God who will Guide us through this storm, who will Guard us as we travel to places never seen before, and who, as a result of this experience, will Groom us to be better than we could have ever thought possible before now.”
Unlike Hobby Lobby, many retailers have closed their stores or reduced hours in the wake of the coronavirus scare, including Chick-fil-a and Walmart. Indeed, more than 110 retailers have shut all their stores, according to Forbes.
Blogger Hemant Mehta criticized Hobby Lobby for remaining open in states that have not announced a lockdown. He wrote on his website, Friendly Atheist, “The chain, owned by the evangelical Green family, is refusing to shut down—no matter how much harm they could be creating for their employees and customers.”
Hobby Lobby said it has “increased the frequency of store cleaning, including more cleaning of areas regularly touched by customers and employees, with anti-viral cleaning products throughout the day.”
“If an employee is suspected of having COVID-19 based on symptoms and/or known direct or indirect exposure, we will send that employee for medical care and to self-isolate at home, and will promptly coordinate with public health officials.”
However, the company did not promise to cover employees’ healthcare costs, if they caught the virus.
Research contact: @ChristianPost