The Premium Cigar Association (PCA) announced today the entire staff will be furloughed as a result of economic effects stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The furloughs will begin on July 15.

The furlough also includes Executive Director Scott Pearce. In a conference call with the cigar media, Pearce described the furlough as a short-term, temporary measure. Pearce said the organization was not eligible for relief funds from the PPP. As for operations, Pearce said the Board of Directors is expected to expand its volunteer role during the furlough. There is no timetable for when the furlough is scheduled to end.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the 2020 Premium Cigar Association Trade Show, the organization’s largest revenue producer. Pearce confirmed that plans for the 2021 Trade Show scheduled to open on July 9, 2021 are on.

There will be some temporary changes to its staffing and programs as a result of the enduring effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic hardships. As of July 15, the PCA staff will be furloughed, with benefits, as the board and executive committee work through the financial challenges the association is currently facing.

John Anderson, president of the PCA Board, issued the following statement addressing the changes. “As we have all worked tirelessly over the past several months to keep our businesses alive, the PCA Board has also been confronting the challenges facing the association due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past few months, The PCA board has struggled with several very difficult decisions over that time and the staff have done a tremendous job working very hard to keep the organization operating close to full capacity. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that we reach out today to let you know that we have decided to furlough the PCA staff temporarily while we work on some key items. I want to stress that this is only temporary, and we fully intend on bringing the full staff back as soon as we are able. This is just to give us some time to get financially settled in order for us to move forward.

We want to also assure you that the 2021 Annual Convention and Trade Show is on and scheduled for July 9 – 13, 2021 at the Sands Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. We are working on that currently with our manufacturing partners and other stakeholders.

On behalf of the entire PCA board I want to express my deepest appreciation for the hard work the staff devote to our industry on a daily basis. We look forward to the near future when we can have them all back to continue their good work.”