The Potluck

Sleep Number stores are ‘essential’; furniture stores are not

By: - March 31, 2020 3:32 pm

Photo courtesy of Sleep Number.

Sleep Number stores across Minnesota will remain open during the stay-at-home period aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 even as furniture stores have been forced to close.

That’s because the Minneapolis-based mattress seller is not a furniture store, it’s a “sleep store with solutions for improved health and well-being,” according to a spokeswoman for the company.

Sleep Number originally told its employees it would have to temporarily close its 16 Minnesota stores as it has in other states with stay-at-home orders like Ohio, Illinois and New York.

But then it sent an email to its workers saying stores in Minnesota would be allowed to stay open.

“Our legal and crisis response team worked closely with the Governor’s office, which clarified that Sleep Number is an essential business, and our stores and home delivery operations should continue to operate,” the email states, a copy of which was obtained by the Reformer.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Many businesses are exempt from the governor’s order, with 78% of Minnesotans working in industries deemed “essential.” This is already causing frustration among some workers.

The governor’s two-week stay-at-home order is in effect until April 10. Everyone in the state is directed to stay home except for essential work or errands.

To date, 629 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state and 12 people have died, although the number of actual infections is much higher.

A spokeswoman for Sleep Number said stores continue to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including increased sanitizing and social distancing.

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.

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