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Build-A-Bear closes all stores due to coronavirus, furloughs 90 percent of workers

Build-A-Bear closes all stores due to coronavirus, furloughs 90 percent of workers

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Build-A-Bear Workshop opens at Union Station

Build-A-Bear Workshop stuffed animal shells are lined up for customers during the grand opening at the company's newest store at Union Station in St. Louis on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. The first fifty guests through the doors were given a free bear. The event also featured face painting for kids, crafts, and give aways. Build-A-Bear, which opened it's first store at the Galleria Mall in 1997, now has more than 400 stores around the world. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

The St. Louis-based Build-A-Bear is closing all stores due to the coronavirus and furloughing 90 percent of its employees.

It already had reduced store hours and closed some stores.

But "given the most recent governmental recommendation to reduce gatherings from 50 to 10 people for the next 15 days," it is closing all stores until Thursday, said a letter posted on the company's website by Sharon Price John, the company's president and chief executive officer.

The furloughs become effective Sunday, according to a  filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Furloughed employees will not be paid, but will continue to receive employee benefits including medical, dental, and vision benefits, the filing said.

Pay will be reduced for nearly all employees not placed on temporary leave, and base salaries for the company’s executive officers will be reduced by 20 percent.

Its popular "count your candles promotion" will be available for those with March birthdays when it reopens, Build-A-Bear said. Parties were not being rescheduled though.

Online orders still were being accepted, but delays of two to four weeks for delivery are expected.

UPDATED at 12:25 p.m. with details about furloughs, pay reductions.

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