Chris Wootton, finance chief of the brand's parent company Frasers Group, said in an email to clarify the Sports Direct position that he had asked the government for permission to open the shops, arguing that sports equipment is essential.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday told all Britons to stay at home to halt the spread of coronavirus, saying that all but essential shops must shut immediately and people should no longer meet family or friends or risk being fined.
Sports Direct has faced widespread criticism in the past under Ashley over the low wages paid to employees - now seemingly classed by their employer as "key workers" - and the use of zero-hour contracts.
Last night Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a tightening of the rules on social isolation, calling on people not to go out except for essential shopping; for ant medical need or to care for a vulnerable person; for one period of walking, cycling or running per day; and for travelling to and from work if this is absolutely necessary.
"Take some responsibility SHUT UP SHOP" Mr Lavery concluded.
B&Q stores will be closed on Tuesday "as we prepare", Mr Bell said.
Amongst the outcry on social media was Labour MP Jess Phillips, who tweeted: "Massive mugs notwithstanding there is nothing people can not live without in Sports Direct".
It has about 700 stores across the United Kingdom and continental Europe.
The government yesterday announced a United Kingdom lockdown in which people should stay at home and all non-essential shops should close.
Firms which have closed their stores include Primark, McDonald's, Greggs, Nando's, Costa Coffee, Eat, and Debenhams.
Britons can still order goods online under the new government measures telling them to stay at home.
These would include limiting customer numbers, introducing floor signage to mark safe distances, marshals to manage queues, protective screens at checkouts, and additional security, the company said in a statement.