Briggs to close temporarily as area factories feel economic impact of coronavirus

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The second largest employer in Butler County will temporarily shutter operations as area factories feel the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Others report they have halted hiring and could see more repercussions.

Rumors began circulating early Monday about a possible closure at Poplar Bluff’s Briggs & Stratton plant on Tuesday, but company officials would not comment. More than 500 people are employed there from around the region.

Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce President Steve Halter later confirmed an announcement had been made Monday afternoon to employees, saying the pending closure was not related to any medical issues or directives, but instead was due to a general business slowdown and an inability to acquire component parts needed to produce small engines.

When contacted a second time, Briggs & Stratton representatives again declined to comment when asked about a closure.

Daily American Republic sources have said the closure could last until April 13.

For those employees affected by a Coronavirus-related closure, the Missouri Division of Employment Security’s website,, offers a wealth of information to help you apply for unemployment benefits.

According to the site, if an employer is forced into a cornavirus-related shutdown or must lay off workers because of it, those employees, in most cases, would be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employees under mandatory quarantine would be eligible for benefits, while those voluntarily self-quarantining may be, depending on each person’s circumstance.

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