KANSAS CITY — Russell Stover Chocolates is closing its candy plant in Montrose, Colo., ahead of schedule due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

In January, the company announced plans to close the production plant and a nearby retail store by March 2021 and shift operations to facilities in Texas and Kansas.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was impossible to anticipate or foresee in January of 2020, we have been forced to accelerate the Montrose and retail store closure earlier than anticipated,” said Jim Kissinger, vice president of human resources at Russell Stover. “The closing of these facilities will be permanent.”

Around half of the company’s 400 employees in Montrose left following the announcement in January. The remaining 217 employees, including a dozen candy makers and two dozen packers, will be dismissed in two rounds occurring July 24 and Aug. 28.

“The plant and retail store will continue to operate during this notification and transition period,” Mr. Kissinger said.

The Montrose closing is one of several changes Russell Stover is making to its production, retail and distribution networks. Along with closing select low-traffic stores, the company will close distribution centers in Cookeville, Tenn., and Butler, Mo., later this year. Facilities in Abilene and Corsicana, Texas, and Iola, Kan., will be expanded.