CASPER, Wyo. – Two prominent national retailers are dramatically altering their businesses in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the choosing to stop business altogether.
Craft store Hobby Lobby announced Saturday that it would close all of its stores and furlough most of its employees.
“Hobby Lobby will, after careful consideration, close the remainder of its stores, and furlough nearly all store employees and a large portion of corporate and distribution employees, effective Friday, April 3rd, at 8:00 p.m.” they said in a statement posted on their website. “The stores will remain closed until further notice.”
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According to Business Insider, the announcement comes after the store defiantly reopened stores in states under strict shelter-in-place orders.
According to Business Insider, Hobby Lobby said it was essential and that it had “implemented several best practices to provide a safer shopping environment” for shoppers.
Hobby Lobby in Casper was open on Friday operating under its normal business hours. Its hours posted online now indicate it will be closed. Natrona County and Wyoming have no shelter-in-place policies, but do strongly recommend people shop for essential products and that only one person shops at a time.
Oil City News reached out to Hobby Lobby’s press office on Thursday to enquire about reports of groups of people and families seen browsing the isles at the Casper store, but did not get a response.
Meanwhile, since Walmart sells food, alcohol and other supplies, they fall into the “essential” business category.
According to the Associated Press, the nation’s largest retailer said it will now allow no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet at a given time, roughly about 20% of the average store’s capacity.
The AP says to oversee the restriction, workers will mark a queue at a single-entry door, and direct arriving customers there, where they’ll be admitted one by one.
Walmart joins Target and others in trying to limit the number of customers in the store to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:
What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.
If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.
Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.
For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.