Despite certain areas of Honduras returning to lockdown status due to Coronavirus, cigar operations will continue in the country.
According to the U.S. Embassy website in Honduras, the country has suspended Phase I re-opening in multiple regions, which must once again shut down due to Coronavirus concerns. But despite some reports to the contrary, the nation’s cigar factories, most of which are located in Danlí and El Paraiso, are still permitted to operate.
Nestor Andrés Plasencia, who owns two cigar factories in Honduras, confirmed to Cigar Aficionado that his operations are not shutting down.
“Everything is still good to keep working,” he said. “There are discrepancies in what the cities and the central government want. For now, we have authorization to work in the factories and for us, the most important thing is the safety of our people, so following safety protocols is a priority.”
General Cigar Co. confirmed that its HATSA factory (Honduran American Tabaco S.A.) in Danlí, has no plans to close either. “General Cigar’s HATSA factory remains open,” said a spokesperson for General.
The Flor de Copan factory, which is owned by Tabacalera USA and located in northern Honduras, will continue producing handmade cigars.
“Flor de Copan is open,” confirmed Rafael Nodal, head of product capability for Tabacalera USA. “They are working at full capacity divided in two shifts. The health authorities denied the closing of Danlí and El Paraíso.”
Honduras is the third-leading exporter of premium cigars to the United States, a nation that ships 60 to 70 million handmade cigars a year to the United States. In March, Honduras shut down all nonessential businesses, and that included cigar factories, which eventually re-opened throughout the spring.
According to the U.S. Embassy government website, Honduras has had 33,835 confirmed Covid-19 cases, one of which was President Juan Orlando Hernández, who was hospitalized for Coronavirus in June. Some 900 have died in the country due to the disease.