Wis. police close Hobby Lobby stores that reopened

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A Hobby Lobby store in Jeffersonville, Indiana, was closed by police on Monday, just hours after it reopened after a brief hiatus amid the coronavirus crisis

Suburban Milwaukee Hobby Lobby stores have been closed down by police as nonessential businesses, although some other big-box craft stores remain open, according to a report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

It seems that complaints were made about the stores, which is outspokenly Christian-owned and made news during the Obama administration for resisting new requirements to include birth control in employee health coverage.

The store had announced in late March its intentions to keep outlets open in spite of the coronavirus outbreak.

Last week, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers ordered all nonessential businesses to close under his safer-at-home order. The order stays in effect until 8 a.m. April 24 or until a superseding order is issued.

On Monday, West Allis police shut down the Hobby Lobby at that location.

Hobby Lobby locations in Brookfield, Franklin, Menomonee Falls and Waukesha were also shut down on April 1, despite having been open the previous day.

Signs outside the Brookfield and Waukesha Hobby Lobby stores early on April 1 indicated they were “operating as an essential business” by “offering PPE mask supplies, educational supplies, office supplies and various components for home small businesses.” 

The same day, employees at both the Waukesha and Wauwatosa locations said via phone those stores were open, but they could not guarantee for how long. Patrons were also seen walking into the Brookfield location before it closed. An employee at the Waukesha store indicated around 1:15 p.m. the store had been shut down a little after noon on April 1.

The Waukesha Police Department had previously indicated it had been made aware of complaints about the craft store and other similar businesses remaining open and that the city was in discussions with Hobby Lobby about its ability to be open.

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