Nissan Canton plant lays off 4,000 workers to slow coronavirus spread

Coronavirus

BY ANNA WOLFE

CANTON, Miss. (Mississippi Today) – Since March 20, when Nissan ceased production in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the company said it continued paying the employees it sent home their full salary.

This week, Nissan temporarily laid off all employees at its Canton plant, about 4,000, who have stopped working during the pandemic. The company plans to start production again on April 27, but still hasn’t determined the safest way to bring back employees, whether all at once or staggered over time.

“Obviously safety is the most important thing, especially if the virus hasn’t started to flatten out in terms of new cases,” said Nissan spokesperson Lloryn Love-Carter. “When you have that many people in a plant, we don’t want to be a reason for the cases to grow.”

Nissan’s approach diverges from some other large companies that have continued plant operations in Mississippi, such as Ingalls Shipbuilding, which employs 11,500 in Pascagoula and has reported 13 COVID-19 cases among its employees. Ingalls, like other employers, has conducted deep cleaning and sanitizing to contain the spread of the virus.

Nissan encourages its workers to file for unemployment, which comes with a maximum weekly benefit of $235 in Mississippi.

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