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

Sign on door of Columbus area Hobby Lobby Tuesday
Sign on door of Columbus area Hobby Lobby Tuesday

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 as Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports, that company isn't the only one that is being questioned about why they are operating as an essential business.

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.

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://t.co/HVqDhFfhqo— Dave Yost (@Yost4Ohio) April 1, 2020

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. Gov. 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.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.