New Era Cap Company announced it will temporarily furlough most of its U.S. workers, according to The Buffalo News. The company’s full statement is below:

Today, New Era informed its employees that the company is instituting a temporary furlough of the majority of its U.S. workforce in response to rapidly deteriorating business conditions resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic. In the wake of the cancellation of professional sporting events around the world and a resulting steep decline in orders from its major retail customers, New Era is being forced to take this difficult action in order to protect its business.

The furlough will be effective March 30 and impact approximately 70 percent of New Era’s 600 employees across the U.S., including in Buffalo, New York City, Miami, and Irvine. During the furlough period, which New Era currently expects to run for 60 days, the company will operate with a limited number of employees in certain essential functions such as distribution, customer relations, sales, and accounting.

“In my 40 years at New Era, I have never experienced a series of events that have so quickly and adversely impacted our business,” said Chris Koch, New Era’s CEO. “We felt we had no option but to move quickly to a temporary furlough in order to ride out this sudden economic downturn. This decision was not made lightly, and I regret the impact it will have on our employees. Their dedication and commitment to my family’s business have always been what has made New Era successful and we will do everything we can to get our employees back to work as soon as possible when our industry begins to return to normal.”

Koch said he is foregoing his salary for the remainder of the year in an effort to cut costs, and that there will also be a reduction in compensation for those senior employees who remain on the job during the furlough period.

New Era plans to do everything it can to support its employees during this furlough period – including providing them with full medical coverage. The company will also continue to provide support services through its Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and help those furloughed access local, state and federal employee programs.