Fabric store

The sheriff closes a fabric store; ‘Not essential’ amid COVID-19

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – It was ten past twelve and Annis De La Cruz was reading the notice taped to the locked sliding glass door of Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts on 20th Street.

“Following the recommendations of the government and health organizations, we are closed for the moment”, indicates the sign. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”

De la Cruz, 47, owns Bello Linen Canvas and Tailor, she said. But as the new coronavirus began to slow down, she focused on making face masks for local hospitals.

Making around 1,000 masks a day, De la Cruz traveled to Jo-Ann Fabric on Friday to purchase supplies for her voluntary production, she said. She didn’t know the store was closed.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued what he calls a “home security order” on Wednesday. Executive Order 20-91 requires the elderly and others with underlying health conditions to stay at home and asks all other Floridians to stay put as much as possible.

Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar was asked at an afternoon press conference on Friday about craft stores and other businesses that could face closures undefined in the context of the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re working on this and developing a list, and there are definitely some stores that aren’t what we think are essential,” Loar said. “Some craft stores have opened. ”

Jo-Ann Fabrics employees said deputies from the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office walked to the storefront around 10:15 a.m. and alerted the store to the closure, although management said it was ‘she could not provide any other information.

“Depending on whether they have packing and shipping capabilities or other capabilities, these may actually be shut down for a short time,” Loar said.

Annis De la Cruz, 47, owns Bello Linen Canvas and Tailor in Indian River County.  She visited Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts on Friday April 3, 2020 and found the store had been ordered to close.

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Linda Minde, 73, also visited Jo-Ann Fabric on Friday afternoon to purchase mask-making supplies. She said she called the business and received an automated message warning them that the store was closed.

As she stood outside the locked store entrance, she started calling to see which windows were still open.

When asked if Minde thinks Jo-Ann Fabric should be considered an “essential service” under Governor DeSantis’ home security order, she said:

“I think it’s a bit essential, because we want to help and make these masks.”

Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts at 5921 20th Street was closed on Friday April 3, 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19.

Officials at Jo-Ann Fabric’s business could not be reached for comment on Friday evening.

“I know they have options online, and that’s what I’m going to do,” De la Cruz said. “I’m going to go online and buy the fabrics and keep making the masks because we have to help. That’s what the seamstresses and tailors are doing to help get through this crisis.”

Colleen Wixon of TCPalm contributed to this report.

Max Chesnes is a TCPalm news reporter for Indian River County. You can follow Max on Twitter @MaxChesnes, email him at [email protected] and call him at 772-978-2224. For more information, follow Max Chesnes on Twitter by clicking here.