NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Craft stores, a major bookstore and a vape shop are among the businesses that have been ordered to stop allowing people inside their stores because they are not considered essential in the Covid 19 crisis, public records show.
News4 Investigates filed open records requests to determine which stores were ordered to close, after the metro coronavirus task force reported that they had closed six businesses since April 1 that had violated the city’s essential business order.
The six businesses include American Home Design on Conference Drive in Goodlettsville, two Michael’s locations in Nashville, two Hobby Lobby locations in Hermitage and Madison, the High Five Supply Smoke and Vape shop in Nashville and Books-A-Million on Gallatin Pike.
“They were all cooperative so no citations were cited,” said Hugh Atkins, director of Environmental Health Services for Metro Public Health.
Metro Public Health reports 62 businesses had been inspected by a team public health workers and Metro Police, but only six had been ordered to close immediately.
“We’re finding that some are misunderstanding the order,” Atkins said.
Given that two of their stores were ordered to close, News4 Investigates reached out to Michael's and Hobby Lobby for comment, but neither responded to our request for comment by our deadline.
On Hobby Lobby’s website, a statement reads in part, “We know our customers relied on us to provide essential products, including materials to make personal protective equipment, such as face masks.”
The Hobby Lobby stores were both inspected on April 2, and the website shows the company decided to close all their locations nationwide temporarily on April 3.
Atkins told News4 Investigates that they are finding that different states have different interpretations for what is considered essential.
Another industry on the radar of Metro Public Health: big garden stores.
On Friday, the Metro Public Health Department held a conference call with the city’s big garden stores.
“(The) previous weekend it kind of got out of control because it was a good spring weekend. We asked them to do a better job with compliance,” Atkins said. “We hit every one of those this weekend and found an overwhelming number in compliance and doing a good job with the crowds.”