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Company’s move is endangering Ohio

According to multiple news reports Hobby Lobby has reopened its stores in several states, including Ohio, claiming to be an “essential business.”

The move by the company is in defiance of Gov. Mike Dewine’s order, intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus, as the store’s inventory of arts and craft supplies hardly qualifies under any of the exemptions to the stay-at-home order and will unnecessarily draw the public to its locations at a time when they should be limiting social interactions to absolute necessities.

The global coronavirus pandemic has already killed 4,000 Americans and infected more than 180,000 people across the nation.

Despite Hobby Lobby’s absurd claims, purchases of things like stencils, plastic flowers and garden gnomes can wait for another day.

The company has also drawn criticism for its policy on sick leave for workers during the pandemic.

According to Business Insider, a memo from the company’s vice president Randy Betts stated that sick workers would be required to use personal and vacation pay or take an “unpaid leave of absence until further notice.”

The company made headlines a few years ago when it took issue with the contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act, arguing it infringed on their religious beliefs.

Yet it is hard for the company to claim to be moral or “pro life” when their executives are going out of their way to put their own profits before public health during this pandemic.

As Dr. Amy Acton, the director of Ohio’s health department, has said, the oncoming surge of cases will be akin to a hurricane and that all actions now are to mitigate the severity of that surge.

By defying the governor’s order, the company is not just endangering its employees, but its customers and anyone they may come into contact with.

DeWine was asked about Hobby Lobby’s move during his news conference on Wednesday.

“Everybody has to follow the order,” he said.

And, as DeWine said, local health departments are empowered to shut down those who are in defiance.

In Hobby Lobby’s case, we hope these officials take action and curb this reckless disregard for everyone’s safety.