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Universal Alloy Corp., like many other businesses across the country, has temporarily closed its production facilities in Canton and Ball Ground, idling 473 of its 548 employees.

A recording heard when calling the main line for the company’s locations in the county said that, while all office and plant facilities are temporarily closed, they are scheduled to reopen on April 13.

The company makes components for other companies, including aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus, both of which have suspended production during the coronavirus pandemic.

Universal Alloy Chief Executive Officer Chip Poth said he doesn't consider the temporary closing of manufacturing operations, which began last week, a layoff. Instead, he said the actions taken by Universal Alloy were designed to keep workers safe from the virus, given that the Canton and Ball Ground plants are large, enclosed structures.

During the temporary closure of the UAC production centers, Poth said office personnel are continuing to do their jobs by working from home. For those who aren't working the company is continuing to provide employee health insurance, while also seeking to obtain additional benefits for workers through some of the recent relief legislation passed by Congress. Workers who have accumulated vacation days and sick days have been able to use those to still have pay coming in during the shutdown, he said.

The shutdown is at least the second related to the coronavirus pandemic locally. The Piolax Corp. plant in Canton has temporarily idled 359 workers who make products for automotive manufacturers that are also temporarily shuttered because of the pandemic.

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