HELENWOOD — The economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. has been a much-discussed sidebar to the health threat being posed by the pandemic, and the first signs of that impact began to show up in Scott County this week.

On Monday, Takahata Precission Tennessee announced that it will be adjusting its production schedule in the days ahead.

In a statement released by the company Monday evening, the word “layoff” was not used. Instead, company president Debra Thompson said, ” Due to the closing of several of our major automotive customers, which is related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Takahata will be adjusting our production schedule and man power accordingly.”

Takahata has long been a major supplier for the automotive industry. However, ominous signs began to emerge last week, as several major automotive production plants in Tennessee and beyond announced temporary closures related to efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

Takahata informed their employees of the decision as each shift reported on Monday, then released a statement Monday evening. 

“We are working closely with both county and state officials on the ever-changing situation,” Thompson said. “Takahata will be communicating with our employees to keep them updated on the current status.”

Scott County Mayor Jeff Tibbals, who has been in close contact with the company, said it was not certain how many employees might be impacted or when the changes would be implemented.

“There is not a definite timeline on this thing, and they’re not closing the entire plant; they’re just scaling back,” he said. “They don’t even know when they’re scaling back.

“It might be that instead of working 200 employees, they’ll maybe work 110,” Tibbals added. “It’s just a matter of when they evaluate these orders — the order cancelations and the orders that are still active. It may be five days or it may be three days. They just don’t know.”

In her statement, Thompson said that no employees have been sickened by the coronavirus at Takahata Tennessee or its global parent company.