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Push to close non-essential businesses includes police work, request to shut off utilities

Posted at 6:14 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 19:14:50-04

Work to keep non-essential businesses closed during the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

West Allis police say officers went to their local Hobby Lobby Monday morning after the store stayed open despite the governor's safer-at-home order. Police advised the store they are not an essential business and had to close. The store cooperated and closed.

However, a viewer sent TMJ4 News a picture claiming the Kenosha Hobby Lobby put up signs encouraging social distancing and notifying customers they were open as an essential business. The sign also states they offer supplies for personal protective masks, educational needs, and offices.

A worker who answered the phone confirmed the Kenosha location remains open for business.

Milwaukee Alderman Khalif Rainey wants the city's health department to shut off water and power to businesses that continue to defy the emergency order.

In a statement, Rainey said he wants Commissioner Kowalik to create a process that gives non-essential businesses a chance to comply before shutting off utilities.

"I find it incredibly selfish and reckless for any non-essential business to continue to operate during the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency," Rainey said in the statement.

Governor Tony Evers issued the safer-at-home order to stem the spread of COVID-19. People can still go grocery shopping, commute to work, and get medical attention.

TMJ4 News asked Governor Evers if he would support a statewide order.

"If those that are considered non-essential can comply. I think I'd rather talk to them rather than shut something off," said Governor Evers.

Evers went on to plead with businesses to consider their actions and comply with the order.

Brookfield Police say they have referred a few businesses violating the order to their district attorney.

We reached out to the Milwaukee Health Department and Hobby Lobby for comment on this story but did not get a response.

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