Retail giants furlough workers amid pandemic Hobby Lobby is reopening stores in parts of the U.S. with stay-at-home orders in place, arguing that the retailer is an “essential” business because it sells educational and make-your-own mask supplies, along with products for at-home small businesses. The arts-and-crafts chain’s stance comes as some of the nation’s biggest retailers temporarily close or limit their hours of operations because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has already killed more than 4,000 Americans.  The company closed its roughly dozen stores in the Dallas area for five days last week in complying with a mandate for all nonessential workers to shelter-in-place to curb the spread of the virus, said Andrea Freidberg, who oversees jewelry and wearables as a department manager at a Hobby Lobby in Garland, Texas. “They said we would be closed for two weeks and then evaluate,” Freidberg told CBS MoneyWatch. But the policy review came more quickly, with Freidberg saying she got a call Saturday from her store manager telling her they were reopening on Monday. Hobby Lobby had come up with a loophole allowing it to remain open because it sells educational and other supplies that people stuck at home might need, she said the company

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