Note: The Shawnee Mission Post is making much of its local coverage of the coronavirus pandemic accessible to non-subscribers. (If you value having a news source covering the situation in our community, we hope you’ll consider subscribing here).
Despite county and state stay-at-home orders — all of which emphasize having nonessential workers staying-at-home as much as possible — one Overland Park Hobby Lobby remains open and conducting business.
It’s not just Overland Park, though: Hobby Lobby reopened stores across the nation despite regional and statewide stay-at-home orders. The Overland Park Hobby Lobby, 11552 W. 95th Street, has signs posted on its windows stating it’s operating as an essential business “offering PPE mask supplies, educational supplies, office supplies and various components for at home small business.”
Up until today, April 2, the Hobby Lobby in Merriam remained open. Signs on its doors read that based on guidance from public health officials, the store is “closed effective April 2, 2020 due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.” Additionally, the store will “reopen when the situation improves, and look forward to returning to normalcy,” the sign reads.
Whether or not Hobby Lobby is considered an essential business under Gov. Laura Kelly’s statewide stay-at-home order is unclear. Both county and state public health officials deferred to the governor’s office, which has not responded to a media request for clarification.
The state’s website with information on what constitutes an essential business, found here, does include a list of businesses that are and are not considered essential. Craft stores, however, are not included on that list. Violation of the executive order is a class A misdemeanor, according to the webpage.
An Overland Park police officer was sent to the open location this morning, Overland Park spokesman Sean Reilly said. The manager of the Overland Park location said he could not comment for this story and deferred to the corporate offices. Hobby Lobby officials could not be reached for comment.
Hobby Lobby did issue a statement regarding safety measures to be taken at stores during the pandemic on March 17. Those safety measures include enhanced store cleaning and sending employees home if they are suspected of having COVID-19.