LIMA — Local factories are beginning to respond to the COVID-19 restrictions and economic stress.
For all Ford and Honda plants, that includes temporary closures. For smaller specialty factories, such as Totally Promotional out of Coldwater, that means layoffs.
Ford announced that production at manufacturing sites in the U.S., Canada and Mexico will be halted after Thursday evening’s shifts through March 30 to clean and sanitize plants. According to a press release, Ford and United Auto Workers leaders will collaborate in the coming weeks to develop plant restart plans implementing additional protocols and procedures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The announcement affects all Ford plants, including the Lima Engine Plant.
Honda also announced that production will be suspended in all North America plants beginning on Monday, including its engine plant in Anna and auto plants in East Liberty and Marysville. The current plan in place is to resume March 31. This time will reduce production by approximately 40,000 vehicles. According to a press release, Honda will continue full pay for all of its associates and use the time to do a deep clean of facilities.
Totally Promotional, a company that specializes in promotional products for individuals, companies, organizations, universities and government agencies, will be laying off up to 150 employees through June 15. The company comes as the first in the region to be issuing layoffs.
According to the company’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filed Tuesday, the situation is “very fluid due to the nature of the coronavirus” and will include a series of temporary, voluntary and permanent layoffs, 100 of which will be in production staff.
Brad Stultz, director of human resources for the company, said he hopes they are temporary.
“The restrictions put into place by the federal government in response to the coronavirus pandemic have greatly affected the promotional products industry,” he said in an email to The Lima News. “The order to limit gatherings to less than 10 people has been detrimental to event-driven businesses such as ours. … We look forward to returning to a full workforce after officials lift the restrictions currently placed on events.”
As of Wednesday evening, other major employers such as Husky Energy, Procter and Gamble Co. and the Lima water and wastewater treatment plants are operating at normal capacity, with additional safety precautions in place.
Most of these policies include restricting all non-critical visitors, prohibiting any non-essential travel and the cancellation of any large meetings or gatherings.
“We are working with employees to assess any potential exposure and address any concerns they may have, including providing access to medical expertise,” Kim Guttormson, communication manager for Husky Energy, said in an email to The Lima News. “At Lima specifically, any authorized visitors to the site go through a health check first, and we are mandating social distancing between workers where possible, including limiting the number of people allowed in control rooms at one time.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.