GRAND RAPIDS — Founders Brewing Co. has temporarily laid off 89 employees as the bar, restaurant, entertainment and hospitality industries cope with recent health guidelines handed down by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
The Grand Rapids-based brewer last week submitted written notification to the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity under the state’s Worker Adjustment and Notice Retraining Notification Act.
The notice was also submitted to the mayoral offices of Grand Rapids and Detroit, where Founders operates taprooms at 325 Granville Ave. SW and 456 Charlotte St., respectively.
“Due to the most recent guidelines put in place by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, starting November 18, we temporarily closed our taproom and outdoor space,” Founders Director of Public Relations and Communications Kristen Veverka told MiBiz.
“While we are still offering customers the choice of take-out or curbside pickup, the number of guests we are serving during this time has reduced significantly. As a result, we unfortunately had to temporarily lay off some of the individuals who fill our retail and taproom roles. We look forward to bringing everyone back to work as soon as we are able.”
In the notice, Founders detailed that it plans to continue providing healthcare benefits to all the affected employees at no cost through the remainder of 2020.
While the guidelines — which ban indoor dining for bars and restaurants statewide — are set to expire Dec. 8, Founders acknowledged in its letter the potential for the MDHHS to extend the orders if the state’s COVID-19 surge does not improve.
“While Founders intends that this layoff be temporary and less than six months in length, Founders cannot predict the duration of this layoff because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the mitigation efforts of state and local governments and health officials,” the notice read.
On April 20, Founders submitted a similar notice that it planned to temporarily lay off 163 of its employees when a Gov. Gretchen Whitmer-mandated order shut down indoor dining for bars and restaurants. Restaurants were permitted to welcome diners back in on June 8.
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