Hobby Lobby will be staying open amid the worsening coronavirus epidemic after billionaire-owner David Green reportedly said his wife had a vision from God.
Earlier this week, the nationwide craft and home goods chain sent a letter to their 43,000-plus employees informing them that stores would remain open during the outbreak that has gripped the nation.
More than 90 major US retailers have temporarily shuttered in the past week and a growing number of states have mandated that all but the most essential businesses close their doors in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
On Saturday, digital strategist Kendall Brown tweeted a widely circulated photo of a note allegedly written by Green, in which the openly conservative Christian businessman repeatedly mentions the power of God as part of his justification to leave stores open.
Hobby Lobby owner David Green is telling store managers to stay open despite the pandemic because his wife had a vision from god.
— Towanda the Avenger (@kendallybrown) March 22, 2020
In the note to employees, Green reportedly wrote that the decision was informed by a message from God bestowed upon his wife Barbara Green, who he described as a “prayer warrior.”
“In her quiet prayer time this past week, the Lord put on Barbara’s heart three profound words to remind us that He’s in control. Guide, Guard, and Groom,” Green reportedly says in the letter. “We serve a God who will Guide us through this storm, who will Guard us as we travel to places never seen before, and who, as a result of this experience, will Groom us to be better than we could have ever thought possible before now.”
Green wrote that while the future remains unclear, the company can “rest in knowing that God is in control,” adding that the company may have to “tighten our belts” moving forward.
“While we do not know for certain what the future holds, or how long this disruption will last, we can all rest in knowing that God is in control,” he wrote. “The Company’s leaders are doing all they can to balance the need to keep the Company strong and the need of employees. To help ensure our Company remains strong and prepared to once again when this passes, we may all have to ‘tighten our belts’ over the near future.'”
Business Insider notes: “Though the company wrote in a note on its website that if a worker exhibits symptoms it ‘will send that employee for medical care to self-isolate at home,’ it did not state if they will be eligible for paid sick leave. According to the company’s 2017 benefits summary guide, its most recently available public document on benefits, only salaried employees are eligible for paid sick leave, leaving hourly workers without protection in the face of the coronavirus.”
Green’s note was widely lambasted on Twitter, as several users took to the platform to call out the company for the alleged policies, including writer and editor Parker Molloy who dubbed Hobby Lobby one of “the most deceptively evil companies on the planet.”