The Premium Cigar Association announced today that the organization will be placing all seven members of its staff on furlough, with benefits, beginning July 15. The group blamed the decision on the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a media conference call, executive director Scott Pierce, who will also be put on temporary work leave, said that the furlough is a direct result of funds lost due to the cancellation of the PCA’s annual industry trade show. Pierce was unable to provide an exact timeframe of when he or his staff would be able to return to work.
John Anderson, president of the PCA board of directors and one of the owners of W. Curtis Draper Tobacconist in Washington, D.C., called the furlough temporary. “We fully intend on bringing the full staff back as soon as we are able,” he said in a press release. “This is just to give us some time to get financially settled in order for us to move forward.”
It’s been a rough year for the PCA, whose members include cigar retailers, manufacturers and suppliers. In January, four of the largest companies in the premium cigar business announced they would not attend the annual trade show. And then, four months later, the organization was forced to cancel the show, which was scheduled to begin next week in Las Vegas.
Pierce said that the organization’s 2021 trade show—scheduled to take place July 9 to 13 2021 in Las Vegas—is still officially on.