Running out of toilet paper is one worry that Clearwater Paper employees may avoid as they work through the coronavirus pandemic.

The paperboard and private label tissue maker with a staff of 1,300 people at its Lewiston manufacturing complex is giving all its employees 36 rolls of toilet paper and as many as 24 rolls of paper towels for free, said company spokeswoman Shannon Myers.

The company will provide the benefit to all its employees this week and next week. What employees do with the tissue products is up to them.

“We would definitely discourage selling our products, but we would encourage our employees to share them with family and friends or donate them,” she said.

The perk is one way the company can reward its employees who are reporting to their jobs in a time of unprecedented demand for their product, Myers said, in an industry identified as essential by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Clearwater Paper has shipped 216,000 rolls of toilet paper to the Clarkston Costco so far this month, which is more than it took there for the entire year of 2019, Myers said.

Costco is one of a handful of stores in the region that Clearwater Paper ships directly to from its Lewiston plant, said Myers, who declined to answer other questions about prices or the amount of demand for toilet paper.

Clearwater Paper isn’t the only Lewiston-Clarkston Valley employer with a toilet paper bonus.

The 10 employees of the Stax restaurants in Lewiston and Moscow recently received an undisclosed amount of bathroom tissue in addition to their paychecks.

“My goal is to make sure my employees don’t have to worry about purchasing toilet paper in the near future,” said owner Andy Severson.

He declined to answer a question about what his source for the toilet paper was.

“It’s stupid to have to be so secretive about something like that, but it’s the times we live in right now,” he said.

The unorthodox form of compensation is part of his approach to care for his employees in ways that positively impact their lives, he said in a social media post.

“I never thought that would mean giving away ‘toilet paper bonuses,’ ” Severson wrote on Facebook. “I guess toilet paper is my love language now!”

Elaine Williams may be contacted at ewilliam@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2261.

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