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P&G's Charmin Plant Exempt from Pandemic Shutdown Order
Ohio Ag Connection - 03/23/2020

Procter & Gamble Co.'s largest manufacturing site in the United States, which is cranking out Charmin toilet paper at record levels because of demand spurred by coronavirus, is exempt from the Thursday night shutdown order that Pennsylvania's governor imposed on most businesses in an effort to curb the spread of the respiratory illness COVID-19.

"Our manufacturing and distribution facilities in Mehoopany, Pa., remain open as we work to serve consumers through this crisis," said Damon Jones, chief communications officer for Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble. "The order from the Pennsylvania governor specified industries which will remain open, including ours."

In addition to Charmin, the Mehoopany plant makes and distributes Bounty paper towels, for which demand also has surged because of the coronavirus outbreak. The plant also makes Pampers and Luvs diapers.

Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all businesses that aren't "life sustaining" to close by 8 p.m. March 19. The order, which is to remain in effect until further notice, doesn't apply to telework. The operation of bars and dine-in service at restaurants was banned earlier this week.

"To protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, we need to take more aggressive mitigation actions," Wolf said in a statement. "This virus is an invisible danger that could be present everywhere. ... We need to act now before the illness spreads more widely."

Exceptions to the shutdown include hospitals, groceries, banks, gas stations, farms and -- applicable to P&G -- converted paper product manufacturing.

Billions of people around the world rely on Procter & Gamble's brands to help them maintain personal health, proper hygiene and healthy home environments, noted Jones, the P&G spokesman.

"During these extraordinary times, we are equally committed to serving those that depend on these products to meet critical needs -- and taking the extraordinary measures required to maintain the health, safety and well-being of the people responsible for making and transporting these products at a time when they are in increased demand," Jones said.

To safeguard workers at its plants, P&G has ramped up sanitizing efforts -- using some of its own products to disinfect. In addition, such facilities are trying to spread out workers so they are in less proximity to each other.

P&G brands include Microban 24 sanitizing products, which were formulated to kill some forms of the human coronavirus and are now in "very strong demand," Jones told me.

In addition, P&G's Professional Division provides cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting products to a wide range of businesses, including restaurants, health care and assisted living facilities, he noted.

The plant in Pennsylvania's Wyoming County, which is P&G's largest maker of paper products, opened in 1966.

Procter & Gamble CEO David Taylor, who was the Mehoopany plant manager from 1989-92, returned to the site in 2016 to help workers celebrate the facility's 50th anniversary.

P&G acquired the Charmin Paper Co. and its branded products in 1957.

First manufactured in 1928 by the Hoberg Paper Co. in Wisconsin, the toilet paper was described by an employee as "charming" -- and that led to the Charmin name.

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