In a preemptive action to help combat COVID-19 and “to protect the health and safety of all personnel,” Ten Oaks LLC temporarily suspended operations on Thursday, April 2.
Terri Birkett, the company’s director of Sales and Administration, said “we laid everybody off for two weeks for the health and safety of our employees. We can’t do social distancing everywhere in the plant.”
That move included nearly all of the company’s 145 employees, aside for few office personnel and a crew of lumber packers. The packing crew will continue to work for the rest of this week.
Although the market has been slow, Birkett said “we are shipping out trucks of product now.”
“We are committed to using every safe avenue available to support our employees and customers during this interruption,” the company posted on social media. “We look forward to getting back to producing our beautiful hardwood flooring just as soon as conditions allow.”
Birkett said company officials also are hopeful the pandemic will peak, and then “we can get everybody back to work.”
She also noted that in addition to keeping employees safe and healthy, “we didn’t think they would be financially hurt” by the suspension due to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
President Donald Trump signed the act into law on March 27. It includes $260 billion earmarked for unemployment benefits. The amount may change, depending on the number of new claims that are filed. States still will be in charge of their individual programs, but the package will also provide an additional $600 a week from the federal government.
The act also adds an additional 13 weeks of unemployment insurance. Those that are approaching the maximum number of weeks allowed under their state’s insurance also may benefit from the extension. Workers that aren’t typically covered under unemployment insurance, such as self-employed workers, freelancers and contractors, can draw benefits through the new temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which will run until the end of the year.