Well argued points; however, as a point of law, the federal government has no authority to dictate business policy that doesn't apply to interstate commerce. States have always had quarantine and other health powers. In fact, such quarantine would be illegal if done by a federal actor.To be fair, it's not a simple calculus. There should have been (and could have been... in fact, there still should be) national standards dictating requirements for opening public places including stores. In the absence of that guidance, every municipality and state had to figure it out independently with highly divergent outcomes. In the case of walmart vs. local apparel store, it's not too difficult to see how they are distinguished and I do understand why there was differentiation in this regard. I tend to doubt that there was a political motivation behind it but rather that stores like walmart offer such diverse products with deep supply chains that it wasn't difficult to see that they offered an important channel for the general public. It's hard to make a case, objectively, for a local specialty apparel store offering an important public need in a crisis. I realize that isn't a popular sentiment or, frankly, a desirable outcome in the long term... but I do get it and I don't hold that against my state's decision makers considering the circumstances.
Wal-Mart's essential status likely only piggy backed off them being a grocery store. That they were able to sell the rest was ridiculous given no other stores were allowed to sell the same merchandise.