Stan­field’s shuts down pro­duc­tion un­til April

Truro Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - HARRY SUL­LI­VAN

TRURO, N.S. – This town’s old­est op­er­at­ing fac­tory – Stan­fields Ltd. – has fallen vic­tim to the COVID-19 pan­demic.

“We closed the fa­cil­ity yes­ter­day un­til April 6 in line with ad­vice from pub­lic health au­thor­i­ties and the govern­ment and the di­rec­tion of con­trol­ling the con­ta­gion,” com­pany pres­i­dent and CEO Jon Stan­field said Tues­day.

Al­though no em­ploy­ees had in­di­cated any signs of coro­n­avirus, Stan­field said the de­ci­sion was made to shut down the man­u­fac­tur­ing as­pect of the plant to ad­here to early ad­vice in­volv­ing sit­u­a­tions where more than 200 peo­ple are sit­u­ated.

“We put all mea­sures in place prior to the govern­ment de­cid­ing self-iso­la­tion,” he said. “We banned vis­i­tors, fam­ily mem­bers and re­tirees, sup­pli­ers to the plant, two weeks ago. We started to deny en­try to en­sure that our em­ploy­ees would be safe from any out­side virus that may en­ter. “I think it’s im­por­tant that the safety of em­ploy­ees is in­tact.”

Al­though the plant, which has been in op­er­a­tion since 1856, shifted gears with pro­duc­tion dur­ing both world wars to meet govern­ment and mil­i­tary de­mans, and while it’s ex­pe­ri­enced some tem­po­rary lay­offs and sum­mer va­ca­tion shut­downs, Stan­field said to the best of his knowl­edge, it is the first time man­u­fac­tur­ing was halted for med­i­cal rea­sons.

A skele­ton staff re­mains in place, he said.

“We do have man­age­ment in the build­ing to deal with op­er­a­tions, plan­ning and we do have a few peo­ple in the ware­house that are ship­ping cus­tomer or­ders, when they or­der, if they or­der, whether it’s from a re­tail chan­nel or di­rect to cus­tomer. So, we’re not com­pletely shut­tered but 95, 97 per cent of the peo­ple are out of here.”

Stan­field said the shut­down will be as­sessed be­fore April 6 to con­sider the sta­tus of the pan­demic at that time.

“How­ever, we need to get back to work and make our prod­uct for our cus­tomers that will ship in July, Au­gust and Septem­ber. So, we can’t be down for too long,” he said.

“I think there is a large eco­nomic im­pact that re­mains largely un­known at this point in time. What is known is that rev­enue in March and April will be very much de­pressed ver­sus prior years and ver­sus plans. That is just a known fact; I think cus­tomers will just or­der less. But look­ing for­ward down the road, I’m not sure what the over­all im­pact is. I think we can get back up and run­ning pretty quick, we have all the raw ma­te­ri­als in the build­ing.”

Fu­ture or­ders are also in the books and in­ven­tory is on hand to com­plete them.

“I can’t re­ally an­swer what the big im­pact is but it’s not in­con­se­quen­tial,” Stan­field said. “And, it’s not just our com­pany, its go­ing to be ev­ery­body.”

Truro Mayor Bill Mills said he was not im­me­di­ately aware of any plans by other lo­cal fac­to­ries to shut down, al­though many other busi­nesses and events have been im­pacted by govern­ment and health ad­vi­sories re­lated to the pan­demic.

FILE PHOTO

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