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Founders Brewing Co. announces new round of layoffs due to pandemic

Founders says 89 workers in Grand Rapids and Detroit will be placed on layoff for an indefinite duration because of the ongoing pandemic.
Credit: Founders Brewing Company
Founders Brewing, which furloughed 163 employees in April, has announced layoffs for 89 workers.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — For the second time this year, Founders Brewing Company has announced temporary layoffs of employees due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a letter to the state, Founders says 89 employees in Grand Rapids and Detroit will be affected.

In April, the company announced furloughs of 163 employees in Michigan.

RELATED: Founders furloughs over 150 employees amid COVID-19 pandemic

Locations affected this time are the Grand Rapids Taproom and company store on Grandville Avenue SW and its Detroit Taproom.

“As with its layoffs of employees in April 2020, the mass layoff is presently expected to be temporary,’’ Audrey Strieter, director of human resources, wrote in a Nov. 18 letter to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

The disclosure was made in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) letter. The WARN Act requires employers to provide notice in advance of plant closings and covered mass layoffs.

While the company intends the layoff to be temporary and less than six months, “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,’’ Strieter wrote.

The layoffs are tied to renewal of certain restrictions on bar, restaurant and other retail operations directed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state, Strieter wrote.

The state announced that beginning on Nov. 18 and continuing for at least three weeks, indoor gatherings in restaurants and bars are prohibited, “effectively permitting restaurants to provide only take-out,’’ Strieter wrote.

“And, given the rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout the state in recent weeks and the approach of winter weather, it is unclear when MDHHS will allow in-person service to resume, what restrictions MDHHS or other government agencies will place on bars and restaurants going forward, or when customer demand will permit Founders to resume in-person services,’’ Strieter wrote.

The letter was also sent to Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

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