“The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic slowdown are negatively affecting short-term demand for communications paper grades, particularly as universities, schools and businesses have been ordered to close,” Domtar spokesman Stefan Nowicki said in an email. “As a result of these unforeseeable and unprecedented business conditions, Domtar announced the temporary idling of its Kingsport Mill for a period of three months to balance paper production with customer demand. The decision to restart the mill or extend the idle will be based on evolving market conditions. About 300 Kingsport employees will be temporarily laid off during this time. A small crew will remain to ensure the site's safety and security during the temporary idling. We are doing everything we can to care for our employees and their families during this time.”
According to a company fact sheet, the paper mill has a $1.3 billion economic impact on the Kingsport area. In 2018, the mill gave $200,000 to community causes. It is the third-largest employer in Kingsport.
Opened in 1916, the mill produces uncoated paper and reuses up to 100 percent of its manufacturing waste. The mill also helped develop the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing.