Hobby Lobby remains open: 'God is in control'

(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons)

Christian-owned Hobby Lobby, one of the largest arts-and-crafts retailers, says it’s taking all measures to help minimize risks of shopping during the coronavirus pandemic and trusting in God.

“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,” founder and CEO of the company David Green wrote to all the employees last week.

Many retailers have closed their stores or reduced hours in the wake of the coronavirus scare, including Chick-fil-a and Walmart. More than 100 retailers have shut all their stores, according to Forbes.

Atheist blogger Hemant Mehta criticized Hobby Lobby for remaining open in states that have not announced a lockdown. “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,” he wrote.

However, on its website, Hobby Lobby says it “continues to closely monitor the latest developments regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus to ensure we are following recommendations from health authorities. We have also proactively implemented measures to help minimize risks of shopping in our stores.”

Another crafts retailer, Michaels Stores, also remains open. “We are taking precautionary measures to ensure that our corporate office, stores, distribution centers and other facilities minimize risks,” Michaels Companies Inc. says on its website. “We are increasing the cleaning of cashier and framing counters, store classrooms, shopping cart handles, door handles, bathrooms, breakrooms and other high-traffic and high-touch areas. We have also developed dedicated communication channels to share information and preventative guidelines with our Team Members.”

Hobby Lobby also 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.” 

In his letter, Green said his wife, Barbara, is “the prayer warrior.”

“Today, that title takes on such a different meaning than I ever imagined before because we are at war with this latest virus,” he wrote, and quoted the late Dr. Billy Graham. “We are to pray in times of adversity, lest we become faithless and unbelieving. We are to pray in times of prosperity, lest we become boastful and proud. We are to pray in times of danger, lest we become fearful and doubting. We are to pray in times of security, lest we become self-sufficient.”

Green said 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.”

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