QUINCY, Ill. — Titan International Inc. is keeping its U.S. tire plants open in order to support the "essential" food and agricultural industries amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The federal government has deemed the food and ag industries as essential to the nation's fight against the coronavirus.
Titan said it will maintain normal operations at its plants in Des Moines, Iowa; Freeport and Quincy, Ill.; Bryan, Ohio; Jefferson, Ga.; and Union City, Tenn. The company produces Titan- and Goodyear-branded farm tires and Titan wheels.
Titan, which announced its intention originally late on March 20, said the decision to remain open "comes with great responsibility to the company's employees."
In addition to adhering to varied measures such as social distancing and other means to reduce the spread of germs, Titan said it is committed to taking additional precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and local governments.
"Titan is proud of our role in the nation's food supply chain, especially in challenging times like this with the coronavirus pandemic now hitting most communities across the U.S.," Titan President and CEO Paul Reitz said.
"The tires and wheels we manufacture are on many types of equipment that farmers use to plant, maintain and harvest crops."
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued guidelines late last week that described businesses that are part of the "critical infrastructure industry" and affect public health and safety, the economy and national security as essential.
The guidelines include "employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution."
These guidelines also were part of executive order issued by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in Illinois, where Titan is headquartered.
Mr. Reitz said the company is not experiencing infrastructure or supply-chain issues that could impact the fulfillment of customer orders in the U.S.
"We continue to monitor this extremely fluid and unprecedented situation and will keep our customers and dealers informed of any updates or changes," he said.
"Titan's leadership team is meeting continuously to appropriately respond to this pandemic as it evolves, and our COVID-19 response team is meeting multiple times a day to monitor the situation and execute plans that will continue to keep our employees safe and help our teams adjust accordingly without impacting production plans," Mr. Reitz said.