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COVID-19: Sinclar Group to close three mills for three weeks

Sinclar Group Forest Products is the latest forest company to curtail operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and global market conditions for lumber.

Effective Sunday, April 5, all of Sinclar’s lumber manufacturing operations will be closed, including Lakeland Mills in Prince George, Nechako Lumber in Vanderhoof and Apollo Forest Products in Fort St. James, for a period of three weeks. Inventory will continue to ship from lumber operations for one week.

“Our priority is to protect the health and safety of our employees and their families, with a focus on the prevention and mitigation of the spread of the Covid-19 virus in our communities,” said Sinclar Group President Greg Stewart, in a news release. “We are taking our lead from the relevant public health authorities as we adjust our manufacturing operations to meet this new and challenging reality.”

At this time, Premium Pellet in Vanderhoof and Winton Homes in Prince George will remain in operation to meet current demand for their products, while observing all recommended public health guidelines. These decisions will be re-evaluated on a regular basis.

“I understand this decision will cause hardship for our employees and their families. It was an incredibly hard decision to make,” said Stewart. “Unfortunately, given the current market conditions globally, the decision to curtail was a question of when, not if. It was our strong belief that curtailing at this critical time, while the world battles Covid-19, was the right thing to do as it would help reduce the risks to our community, and it allows many of our employees to be at home with their families during a very critical time.”

Sinclar Group has already taken the following actions at all of its operations:

  • Health and safety protocols at the workplace including social distancing and increased sanitation of workstations and common areas
  • Work from home measures, where possible, and rotating shifts
  • Self-isolation procedures for those returning from international travel and those exhibiting symptoms
  • Business travel restrictions
  • Restricting access to office and sites
  • Employee and family assistance support

Sinclar Group Forest Products operates three primary mills (sawmills and planer mills) and two secondary (value-added) mills in the Central Interior of British Columbia, Canada. Sinclar operations include Apollo Forest Products (Fort St. James), Nechako Lumber Co. (Vanderhoof), Lakeland Mills (Prince George), Winton Homes & Cottages (Prince George) and Premium Pellet (Vanderhoof).

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