American Woodmark 4-6-20

Vehicles are in the parking lot of American Woodmark on Monday, April 6, 2020. An online petition with nearly 1,700 signatures is asking Gov. Larry Hogan to reconsider closing the cabinet-making facility for the health and safety of its employees and the surrounding community. (Photo by CTN - Ken Nolan)

CUMBERLAND — Due to regulations that pertain to COVID-19, operations at American Woodmark Corporation’s component plants in Mexico have been suspended through April 30.

The company, which makes cabinetry, hopes to get the orders lifted by having the plants identified as essential to operate by the Mexican government.

The plants manufacture “important components used by certain of our (U.S.) manufacturing plants largely for our home center and builder channel and to a lesser extent our independent dealer and distributor channel,” the company stated in a news release.

Cabinet manufacturing was identified as essential to the critical infrastructure within the U.S. by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

“As a critical supplier to the company's U.S. operations, we are working with the Mexican government to achieve a similar identification for our plants in Mexico,” the release stated. “As a contingency, the company is evaluating all options, including shifting some production to its other plants, but expects at least some delays to impact its supply chain, especially if the suspension is extended past April 30, 2020.”

All other American Woodmark manufacturing plants on Friday remained open and operational.

"The safety and well-being of our teams has been our number one priority from day one," Cary Dunston, the company’s chairman and CEO, stated via the release. "Our locations have enhanced cleaning processes, established health screening procedures, added remote working options where possible, modified work centers and material flows with established social distancing practices, and prohibited all non-critical visitors to any site."

Earlier this month, roughly 1,700 people signed a petition that asked Gov. Larry Hogan to close American Woodmark in Cumberland because of fear that daily activities at the plant were potentially spreading COVID-19 and endangering workers, customers and the greater environment.

Hogan later gave local health departments power to shut down businesses that don’t comply with safety guidelines.

At that time, the Cumberland Times-News asked the Allegany County Health Department whether it was investigating the situation, but the department hasn’t responded.

American Woodmark is also withdrawing its previous fiscal year 2020 outlook, which did not contemplate the impacts of COVID-19, and not providing an update at this time.

Management will provide a business update as part of its fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 and full year fiscal 2020 earnings results, currently scheduled for May 26.

"I am extremely proud of how all of our teammates have responded in this difficult time,” Dunston said. “Although near-term demand will be volatile given the macro impact of the economy, we remain confident in the longer-term view of our industry and our ability to quickly recover as the economy reopens."

Teresa McMinn is the digital editor at Cumberland Times-News. Email her at tmcminn@times-news.com, call/text her at 304-639-2371 and follow her on Twitter.

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