See’s turns 99 this year, and we are proud of our legacy. That legacy includes our employees, our customers and our longstanding mantra of Quality Without Compromise. Those years provide a proven track record, that is longer than most, of operating safely, providing a great product and having a fantastic workforce with years of dedication to you, our customers.
Current events around COVID-19 have been a top priority for all aspects of See’s operations. See’s Candies are American-made in San Francisco and Los Angeles, so the impacts to you—our customers—and our employees are very real. Many of us have never experienced an event like this, and all of us are watching the news and talking with others with genuine concern and questions. We are all anxious and looking for that ray of light around the corner.
Since the beginning, we have been following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and direction from federal, state and local authorities. We have been providing daily updates to supervisors and our frontline workforce, and have adjusted operations to address any of our employees who may be in a vulnerable condition or who are simply concerned about loved ones. See’s takes great care, always, in providing a safe product and a safe working environment for our employees.
Our plants, distribution centers and retail shops are permitted and regularly reviewed by public health authorities. All retail associates are certified food handlers, and use best practices for food handling, avoiding direct contact with food and always adhering to policies regarding staying home if sick or compromised.
Recognizing the growing and important concern in response to COVID-19, we have taken additional steps to ensure customer safety that include moving to wrapped samples of our product, practicing social distancing with our employees and customers, and enhanced facility cleaning in addition to our daily and rigorous sanitation practices in plants and shops. We immediately recognized the Public Health Order of the six Bay Area counties and took steps last night to close all 40 locations subject to that direction in the impacted areas.
I want to recognize the genuine concern and caring for our employees and customers here at our home base in the Bay Area, as well Pasadena and greater Los Angeles, which is where Mary See and her son Charles founded this great company in 1921. We are a strong example of an American company that has always focused on the right things and managed to move forward and grow because we have always taken care of our employees, shown great care for our product, and done right by our customers.
We know in times like this, candy is something we turn to for comfort, and we are happy to serve you in the shops that do remain open for business at this time, as well as online through our website. I get the benefit every day of seeing with my own eyes the dedication our employees have to our customers, and I know how much our customers look to us for joy and support. We know things are changing quickly, and we will continue to provide updates as we move forward through the coming weeks. We ask you to be patient with us, with our employees and with each other, as we work through this.
Since it is St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll end with the note I placed in our See’s catalog for this season: “‘May the road rise to meet you.’ So begins one of my favorite Irish sayings. At See’s, we make sure that road leads to the best candy you can find.” Our thoughts are with all of you affected by this event and particularly those directly impacted by the illness, and we hope you and yours stay well.