Toyo Tire is pausing manufacturing at is White, Ga., facility, one of the largest Japanese-owned plants in the state, as the coronavirus saps demand.
The tire plant in Bartow County near Cartersville, which has expanded multiple times over the last decade, is expected to resume production April 19, the company announced in a March 30 news release.
Before shutting down, Toyo had implement social distancing and telecommuting measures, as well as CDC-recommended sanitation guidelines at the plant, which employs more than 1,000 people.
The U.S. branch of the Japanese company based in Itami city, near Osaka, said its global factories would pick up the slack in the short term:
“Toyo Tire’s distribution centers are fully stocked and will remain open to service our customers. We also continue to receive tires from our overseas manufacturing facilities.”
The shutdown follows those of other manufacturing firms that either have been deemed “non-essential” or haven’t been able to justify production as demand falls.
With Georgia’s confirmed Covid-19 case count crossing 5,000 Wednesday, Gov. Brian Kemp on April 2 issued a statewide shelter-in-place order requiring all but “essential” companies to close up shop; those that remain operational are required to keep six feet between workers at all times.
Japanese-owned subsidiaries have taken varied approaches based their product category and market effects of the outbreak. Toilet maker TOTO USA has temporarily closed its plant in McDonough but kept open distribution sentries supplying parts to plumbers, who have been able to continue working.
YKK continues to run its factories, with some adjustments to serve medical product suppliers. Kubota shut down two plants after three of its workers tested positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. That closure will affect 3,000-plus workers.
Many firms have continued to pay and offer benefits to their plant workers in the short run, staying ready to resume full production once the worst of the outbreak has passed. It was not immediately clear whether Toyo employees has offered employees a similar arrangement during the temporary shutdown.