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New Era Cap, citing sales slump in COVID-19 pandemic, to idle majority of workforce

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An estimated 70 percent of New Era Cap's U.S.-based workforce, including operations in Buffalo, will be furloughed for at least 60 days, the company announced Friday, as the result of slumping sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a written statement, the company says it informed its workforce of the move Friday morning for, in its words, "rapidly deteriorating business conditions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic."

The furloughs take effect Monday. 

In addition to Buffalo, the furloughs will affect employees in New York City, Miami and Irvine, California. Operations at its downtown Buffalo headquarters including distribution, customer relations, sales and accounting will be scaled back.

According to the company, affected workers will continue to receive medical benefits and employment assistance program support during the furlough period. Additionally, New Era Cap CEO Chris Koch will forego his salary for the remainder of this year.

New Era Cap holds licenses to produce apparel for Major League Baseball, the National Football League and National Basketball Association. The NBA suspended its season earlier this month, while Major League Baseball has postponed the start of its season until mid May at the earliest.

The company closed its Derby plant last year.

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