Non-“critical infrastructure” JoAnn Fabrics craft stores to close stores in Michigan, AG Dana Nessel says


JoAnn Fabrics, a chain of arts and crafts stores with a strong presence in Michigan, has been denied a request to continue operating during Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order which runs until April 13 at least.

In a letter dated March 24, the company requested permission to continue its retail operations because “hundreds of hospitals and thousands of generous volunteers (were looking to JoAnn) for materials to make masks, face shields, scrubs and gowns essential. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s March 30 response said to the Hudson, Ohio-based company.

Nessel said the justification is not enough, as the same materials can be sold online without in-person contact.

“I can appreciate the desire of businesses to stay open and provide their customers with the same products and services that they expect from these retailers, but there must be common sense protections in place during this global health emergency,” Nessel noted. “Employees should be allowed to work from home whenever possible and businesses that are not necessary for the maintenance or protection of life should comply with the order by temporarily suspending in-person operations. Reducing person-to-person contact can help slow the spread of COVID-19, and we all need to do our part. “

The Whitmer Order “prohibits any person or entity from carrying on a business or carrying out operations which require workers to leave their homes or places of residence, except to the extent that such workers are necessary to maintain or protect the life or to conduct basic minimum operations, “Nessel wrote. to JoAnn Fabrics. “The ordinance should be” interpreted broadly to prohibit face-to-face work which is not necessary to maintain or protect life. “”

Nessel said the company quickly complied with its conclusion that the company would pose a risk to public health and violate the governor’s order if it continued its storefront operations in Michigan.

MLive has emailed JoAnn reps for comment and is awaiting a response. JoAnn opened her first store in Cleveland almost 75 years ago and has grown into a chain with 865 stores in 49 states, according to her website.

Whitmer issued his order which included the temporary shutdown of all non-essential businesses on March 23.

The Attorney General’s Office has released information for employees regarding their rights under the Home Support Decree, as well as information for employers

A summary of the activities permitted and prohibited while the decree is in place can be found here.

Read all of MLive’s coronavirus coverage at

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In addition to washing your hands regularly and not touching your face, authorities recommend practicing social distancing, assuming anyone can carry the virus. Health officials say you should stay at least 6 feet from others and work from home, if possible. Take hand sanitizer with you and use sanitizing wipes or sanitizing spray cleaners on frequently touched surfaces in your home (doorknobs, faucets, counters) and when going to places like stores.

To learn more about MLive:

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