An expansion project seen July 12, 2016, at J.S. McCarthy in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

Officials at J.S. McCarthy Printers, the Augusta-based commercial printer, say the company remains open for business.

On Wednesday, company officials issued a statement letting customers know that its business has been deemed an essential business under the executive order of Gov. Janet Mills that went into effect Wednesday.

At the same time, the statement by company President Jonathan Tardiff says company officials have been observing public health precautions with employees, customers and vendors to “maintain a healthy and operational workplace” as a part of adapting public health directives to slow the spread of the dangerous and highly contagious coronavirus.

Those measures include changing shift times to eliminate overlap in workforce, allowing remote working where possible, continuous cleaning of shared surfaces, limiting outside visitors and managing its supply chain as closely as possible.

“Through the COVID-19 pandemic, our primary focus remains the same as it always has: to ensure our employees are healthy and safe so that we can deliver top tier customer service and high-quality products,” the statement continues.

The statement makes no mention of layoffs.

On Monday, workers were sent home from the printing plant on Darrin Drive in what one employee described as a temporary layoff.

In an interview with the Kennebec Journal, Reno Cyr Sr. said employees were asked for email addresses so they could receive information, including what’s needed to file for unemployment.

“It’s kind of bad,” he said. “All we can do is try to understand what our owners are going through.”

Those employees are now among those who are now filing for unemployment. While the numbers for this week are not yet known, nearly 21,500 Mainers filed for unemployment in the week ending March 21. The total from the previous week was 634.

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