DALLAS COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) — A Hobby Lobby in Dallas closed abruptly Thursday after Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins called the business out for keeping its doors open amid the coronavirus pandemic.
During a news conference Apr. 2, Judge Jenkins said, “It’s a slap in the face to the businesses that are following this order that a few outliers are putting this community in danger.”
The judge asked his staff to prepare a cease and desist letter and told anyone working for the craft store to “go ahead and lock up and leave as soon as possible.”
“You are hereby ordered to cease and desist operation…” the letter read. “Note that a violation of this Order during a pandemic may be punished criminally as a misdemeanor or enforced by civil action pursuant to the Order.”
The store location on Preston Avenue was shortly closed by Dallas County Sheriff’s deputies, not allowing a single shopper to finish up their purchase.
“The manager came on the intercom and immediately told everyone to stop shopping, put their items down and to leave the store immediately,” shopper Libya Van Buren said.
She walked away from a full shopping cart.
“‘Can I at least buy one thing?’ They were like, ‘Nope, can’t buy anything. You have to leave,'” Van Buren said.
The rationale behind not closing was that the store sold materials shoppers could use to make their own mask, as well as educational, office and small business supplies. However, Judge Jenkins said there’s no reason a craft store should be open.
Jenkins said the business could operate online.
Jenkins also said there were other “non-essential” businesses still open that the county contacted today. He said they all agreed to shut down immediately.