COVID-365: This boss gave workers bonuses, extra vacation during the pandemic

Posted at 3:58 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 15:59:03-04

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. -- Rex Davis owns Davis Travel Centers and Davis Express.

As COVID-19 spread in March and April of 2020, some businesses reacted by laying off workers and closing.

For Davis, April 2020 business was down about 60-percent.

“I can sleep at night knowing that I think we put our best foot forward to take care of our people," Davis said.

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The Davis family took a much different approach in dealing with the pandemic and their workforce.

"We came to the conclusion we could reassign the employees elsewhere in the organization," Davis said in an April 2020 interview. "[We could move people to] other restaurant brands, or moving people to the petroleum facility and not lay anybody off, we have not laid anybody off."

One year later, Davis said he was able to keep "most of our workforce" during the pandemic.

In addition to keeping people at work, the company was able to hand out bonuses and provide extra paid time off.

"We did give people an additional one-week vacation for the folks that earned vacation," Davis said. "We gave them some bonuses throughout the year, and I think it gave people a sense of hope at a very desperate time."

Davis said he took care of his employees because without them, he said, he does not have a business.

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"Thankfully most of those folks have been very healthy throughout this whole process," he said. “Only a handful of COVID positive tests throughout the company over the past year. None of those folks required hospitalization, there were no contact trace hits, so yeah, we feel blessed."

During the early stages of the pandemic, the company was on the verge of building a new facility in Prince George County and had to make some tough decisions.

“We were able to build the store behind us here during COVID," Davis said. "[It] was challenging at times because of logistical issues mostly."

With the Prince George County location now open, Davis said he believed his company will fare better in 2021.

“I think we’ve got a really significant growth potential," he said. "As vaccinations continue to roll out, the percent positivity rate, hopefully, will stay in a downward trajectory, people will want to be out, they miss being out."

One year after Davis first spoke with CBS 6 about the pandemic, he said he believed people are now seeing a different kind of light at the end of the tunnel.

“I think they have come full circle now and they know that light at the end of the tunnel is a light of hope and not the train."