Bassett Furniture Industries Inc., resumed manufacturing in their local facilities on Tuesday after temporarily closing due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The furniture company will be producing at a limited capacity to work through some existing backlog because of the closures.
Jeb Bassett, vice-president and Chief Operations Officer of the company, said that the backlog was “just over $13 million” and that he estimated that it would take “less than three weeks” to catch up on production.
Even though business is back on, there will be some changes that workers will adhere to, according to Eddie White, vice-president of Human Resources at Bassett Furniture.
“We have protocols in place that we are going to go over with each of our associates as they return,” he said.
White said that employees will be wearing facemasks that Bassett Furniture has manufactured themselves. As they report to work each day, their body temperature will be recorded before the workers can enter. He added that the company would provide the resources for the employee to contact if they have a high temperature.
Social distancing will also be practiced in all of Bassett Furniture’s facilities, which the company has promoted through tape markings on the floor to delineate six feet in distance.
The number of employees that are allowed in the restroom at any given time will be limited, added White. Bassett Furniture is prohibiting the shared use of tools and phones by employees and providing hand sanitizer and disinfectant to prevent potential spread of COVID-19, according to White.
In addition to manufacturing, Bassett Furniture also announced that they will be reopening 20 of the 66 company-owned Bassett Home Furnishings stores. Retail distribution centers have already been reopened and are making home deliveries. Additional stores are expected to reopen in the coming weeks when permitted based on applicable state and local guidelines.
“We are following the developing return to work protocols on a daily basis as we seek to ramp up our retail network and manufacturing facilities as they are permitted to do so,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rob Spilman, said in a release. “Our plan to reopen is driven by our mandate to comply with state and local guidelines and to keep our work environments, our employees and our customers safe while keeping mindful of our need to preserve cash and ensure our future liquidity.”