Production was down by over 35 per cent at Valbruna ASW Inc. in the first half of 2020, a hit brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic that caused reduced hours and less demand from international customers, said president Tim Clutterbuck.
The more than 100 employees that work at the century-old steel factory in Welland didn’t suffer layoffs that kept them home for full weeks but did slice some shifts from their paycheques.
The government’s wage subsidy program was a major factor in keeping people working, said Clutterbuck.
Things are “more normal” now and production has increased in the second half of 2020, he said, operating an essential service.
The steel manufacturer, founded in 1918 and known as Atlas Steel for many years, was bracing for COVID-19 before the shutdown arrived.
They were “not certain what it would mean for business” at the time, he said.
Keeping everyone safe, physically and mentally, has been a priority for the company, he said, especially screening and keeping distance from drivers who were coming from the U.S.
The border has “not been a problem,” said Clutterbuck, adding that it being open for commerce has not impacted his industry.