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Ohio's Attorney General Explains His Definition Of An Essential Business

Apr 2, 2020

Sign on door of Columbus area Hobby Lobby Tuesday
Credit Karen Kasler

Hobby Lobby stores in Ohio are closed now after Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sent the company a cease and desist letter.

The company had claimed it was operating as an essential business. But that company isn't the only one that is being questioned about why they are operating as an essential business. Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles reports.

Attorney General Dave Yost says he's sent letters to JoAnn's and Michaels, asking them to also justify why they are operating as an essential business. He says they might have valid reasons. But he says just because a company provides a good or service that could be deemed essential, it doesn't mean they actually are.

"Just because a bowling alley sells bottled water doesn't make them an essential enterprise. You've got to look at what the core business is and you've also got to weigh it against the risk exposure to the general population," Yost says.

Dave Yost ✔@Yost4Ohio  

Hobby Lobby properly closed its stores during Ohio’s stay-home order.

Now they’re open again — what’s changed? Neither the order, nor the seriousness of the health threat, for sure.

I sent a cease & desist letter to their general counsel. https://images.app.goo.gl/qJmT2PL7nmehyPzQ6 …

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Yost says companies in Ohio that are still operating as essential under the state's coronavirus order for businesses need to be able to justify why they are indeed meeting a valid need. Governor Mike DeWine has been hinting for days now that he will lengthen and strengthen Ohio's "Stay at Home" order and  the coronavirus order to close all non-essential businesses.