Michigan AG says craft stores' in-person operations are non-essential

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LANSING—Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Monday in a letter to a major craft and hobby retailer said that in-store operations are considered non-essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nessel’s office said that it sent a letter to Joann Fabrics indicating that the business should temporarily suspend storefront operations in order to comply with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order.

Joann Fabrics sent a request to the Michigan attorney general’s office on March 24 asking that its storefronts remain open to continue providing hospitals and volunteers with raw materials to make face masks, face shields, and hospital scrubs and gowns.

The attorney general’s office denied the request, saying the company has the ability to provide the same goods through online sales and shipping from its stores and distribution centers.

“Keeping the storefronts open to the public is both unnecessary and violative of the executive order,” Nessel’s office said in their response to Joann Fabrics.

The executive order mandates that only essential businesses remain open to the public in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

“I can appreciate the desire of businesses that want to remain open and provide their customers with the same products and services they have come to expect from these retailers, but there must be common sense protections in place during this global health emergency,” Nessel said in a press release. “Employees should be permitted to work from home whenever possible and businesses that are not necessary to sustaining or protecting life should comply with the order by temporarily suspending in-person operations. Reducing person-to-person contact can help slow the spread of COVID-19, and we all need to do our part.” 

Joann Fabrics stores nation-wide as of Tuesday remained open, with many operating with shortened hours.

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