344 employees in Stanly temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 pandemic

Many people have been affected with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with millions having to file for unemployment after losing their jobs.

In Stanly County, 344 people have been temporarily laid off from two companies as a result of the pandemic, according to the state’s current Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification report.

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, “companies that have announced plans to either close a facility or conduct a mass personnel layoff are required to file with the state, under certain circumstances, a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification — commonly called a WARN notice.”

The Michelin manufacturing facility in Norwood has placed 335 workers on reduced hours. The company expects the 50 percent reduction in hours, which began April 20, at the site to last for six months.

“We remain hopeful that these restrictions will be temporary,” wrote Monica Johnson, facility personnel manager, in the company’s WARN letter dated June 9. “However, it is possible that there will be longer-term restrictions on the site’s ability to operate at full capacity as a result of the continued spread of the virus, extensions of various government-mandated social distancing orders, supply chain disruption, significantly reduced global customer demand, and the impact of the pandemic on the airline industry.”

While the company hopes business conditions will improve within the six-month period, which would allow for employees to resume work, “because of the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible that
the need for reduced hours will last longer.”

Carolina Eye Associates, which has 13 locations across the state, temporarily laid off nine employees at its Albemarle location on March 20. The company laid off 185 people at eight locations.

In the company’s WARN letter, dated March 20, human resources manager Marie Crowder didn’t specify how long the workers would be on leave.

In total, 21,413 employees across the state have been either temporarily or permanently laid off as a result of the pandemic.

In 2019, only one Stanly company filed a WARN report — Cap Yarns, which shuttered its Oakboro facility last August and relocated to its headquarters in Clover, S.C. As a result of the closing, 129 employees were affected, though, according to the WARN letter, some of the employees would likely remain with the company.