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Hobby Lobby remains open in defiance of Colorado’s stay-at-home order

Hobby Lobby locations across the Denver area were open to shoppers Monday despite the statewide stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Jared Polis last week mandating all non-critical businesses shutter until April 11.

The chain’s decision to stay open in the face of coronavirus social-distancing orders hasn’t gone unnoticed on social media.

Employees from locations nationwide have been outspoken on Twitter, claiming the company exploits loopholes in orders similar to Colorado’s to stay open. People have shared photos of signs posted at Hobby Lobby stores that say they’re essential businesses because they sell materials for making personal protective equipment and homeschooling supplies.

In Colorado, though, the answer is clear: Hobby Lobby and other crafty outfitters like it are not essential under Polis’ public health order.

“They are not exempt,” Conor Cahill, the governor’s press secretary, confirmed Monday when asked about Hobby Lobby.

Managers at Hobby Lobby locations in Wheat Ridge, Lakewood and Englewood declined comment when The Denver Post asked why they were open. Attempts to reach the chain’s corporate representatives were unsuccessful. And Hobby Lobby’s customer service line was “not accepting phone calls at this time,” according to a recorded message.

Uncertainty around what constitutes a critical versus non-critical establishment under the governor’s order has prompted a wave of complaints from locals. Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office has received about 700 reports about businesses violating the stay-at-home order since Friday, he said.

Weiser would not disclose whether his office had taken reports about Hobby Lobby or if he plans to pursue action against the company, stating, “I’m not going to get into individual cases.”

In Denver, the city and county enforcement team contacted 2,577 businesses and citizens about non-compliance as of Sunday, issuing 543 warnings and giving out four citations, according to the joint information center.

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