Bolingbrook Michaels workers raise questions about 'essential' business during Illinois' stay-at-home order

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. (WLS) -- The first full day of Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker's stay-at-home order has calmed the streets of downtown Chicago.

But many were outside by the lakefront Sunday, and overnight police had to break up two parties in the city's Noble Square and Austin neighborhoods.

RELATED: Police break up parties violating Illinois' 'stay-at-home' order

The "stay-at-home" order went into effect Saturday at 5 p.m., and it'll remain until Tuesday, April 7.

Residents are still allowed to check up on family and friends, spend time outside and go to essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals and gas stations. The goal is to stop the spread of the virus and help those on the front lines.

However, there are some Chicago-area employees currently working that say their business is not essential, and they fear their safety is at risk.

"It honestly feels like we're screaming into a black hole, like there's nobody listening to us," said Alexia Macias, an employee at Michaels in Bolingbrook.

Macias and her fellow employees said the arts and crafts supply store saw a surge in customers following the governor's announcement Friday.

"I mean glitter and yarn is not essential at a time like this, when lives are being claimed by this virus," Macias said.

RELATED: Illinois' COVID-19 cases surpass 1K with 9 deaths; Gov. Pritzker battles with Pres. Trump over national response

Many are petitioning on Change.org for Michaels to temporarily shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Macias said while she needs this job to make ends meet, her family's safety and the safety of others is more important than supplying craft needs.

"Working for a company like this, it becomes glaringly obvious that we're not valued as an asset and after this, we're just not valued as humans," she said.

Michaels hasn't yet responded to ABC7's request for comment.
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