LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — A spokesperson for Colorado’s top health department tells the Problem Solvers “Hobby Lobby has not been deemed essential, so they should not be open.”
Despite that, a majority of the craft chain’s stores remain open up and down the Front Range as of Tuesday evening.
“On the Saturday previous, they told us we were essential,” said Michael Fair, who worked at the Lakewood location for seven years. “I asked my manager how we were essential. She did not give me an answer.”
Fair quit his job at the end of his conversation with his manager Monday.
“I no longer felt this company was protecting its employees,” Fair said. “I kind of did what I felt was right. I wouldn’t advise anyone else to do what I did.”
A spokesperson for Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says “Anyone with concerns about a public health order should first contact their local public health agency to make a report. Residents may also file a report with the Attorney General’s Office at email@example.com if local law enforcement or a local public health agency is unresponsive.”
The Attorney General’s Office has received more than 700 tips concerning businesses remaining open, despite the public’s belief of their non-essential status.
“I don’t believe they’re taking the time to properly analyze each state’s legal definition of essential, and instead they’re just saying they are,” Fair said. “And that’s causing a lot of problems.”
So far, Hobby Lobby locations in Denver and Johnstown have been shut down by their local counties, but the majority stayed open for business Tuesday. According to Google Maps, there are 19 stores from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs.
“We were still open in Lakewood and we had people coming in from Denver to our store,” Fair said.
The Problem Solvers obtained a memo to every Hobby Lobby store manager from the senior vice president of store operations:
It gives reasons how the company could be deemed essential, including “because [they] sell educational materials… products for home based businesses… or materials to make personal protective equipment.”
The Problem Solvers reached out to Hobby Lobby to answer questions about their Colorado operation, but did not hear back as of Tuesday night.