by WorldTribune Staff, April 21, 2020
The craft store Hobby Lobby decided to stay open in the Dallas area during the coronavirus crisis, saying that it sells all the necessary items allowing customers to make face masks, a report said.
A Dallas County Democrat official encouraged residents via Twitter to snitch on “non-essential” businesses that remained open, among them being craft stores, Brandon Morse reported for RedState on April 20.
Dallas County Commissioners Court Judge Clay Jenkins had tweeted on April 2: “Do you know of any smoke shop, craft store or other non essential business (not covered by @CISAgov) ignoring my #SaferAtHome order and putting profits over public health in your area? Report on http://DallasCountyCovid.org so we can shut them down ASAP.”
Jenkins “sent law enforcement to shut down Hobby Lobby locations, and forced patrons out of the store without allowing them to finish shopping,” Morse noted.
Jenkins also issued an emergency order that if people were going to be out and about, they were required to wear masks. Those who didn’t wear masks could be charged and fined up to $1,000.
On April 15, the Dallas County Commission voted unanimously to limit Jenkins’ power. He must now pass most decisions through them first.
The commission voted 3-2 to kill many of the punishments for not wearing a mask. They also voted to reopen Hobby Lobby so that residents could get the materials to craft their own mask “as Hobby Lobby had intended from the beginning,” Morse wrote.
According to KRLD, normally county commission votes go down party lines, but Jenkins managed to anger even the Democrats on the council. Democrat John Wiley Price united with Republicans on Jenkins’ failure to give ample time to talk the rule over.
According to Dallas News, Price criticized the mask order as nonsensical: “During Friday’s fiery meeting, commissioners again cited concerns that Jenkins was not communicating with them. Jenkins did notify commissioners of the mask order the day before, though some commissioners felt they should have had more input.”
As reported by the Dallas News, Price was “incensed” by decisions that were made by Jenkins without consultation from anyone else and that his methods to curb the spread of COVID-19 put a “throat choke” on his community.
“I’m getting my butt kicked on decisions you make on the fly,” Price told Jenkins during the meeting, according to Dallas News. “I get no input at all. I hear about it from other individuals that you made a decision.”
Jenkins “has stepped in it multiple times during this pandemic lockdown,” Morse noted. “Not only has he taken the opportunity to exert his will over the people to the point where the rest of the court voted to strip him of his unilateral power during this crisis, he also used it as an opportunity to bash people and businesses he just doesn’t like. One of those businesses is the craft store Hobby Lobby.”
The end result, Morse noted, “is that Hobby Lobby was right to stay open in the first place and Jenkins was out of line. He put his politics over the people which appears to be a bad habit of his. It’s bad enough that his fellow commissioners are continuously having to rein him in.”