SEATTLE >> Boeing said today it will continue its shutdown of production indefinitely at its Seattle area facilities due to the spread of the coronavirus.
The company in an email to Washington employees said it is extending the planned two-week shutdown rather than reopening Wednesday. The decision affects about 30,000 of Boeing’s 70,000 employees in the state.
The company said the decision is based on the health and safety of its employees, assessment of the coronavirus spread, supply chain concerns and recommendations from government health officials.
“The health and safety of our employees, their families and our communities is our shared priority,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal. “We will take this time to continue to listen to our incredible team, and assess applicable government direction, the spread of the coronavirus in the community, and the reliability of our suppliers to ensure we are ready for a safe and orderly return to operations.”
A spokesman told The Seattle Times that employees are receiving their regular salaries during the two-week shutdown, but will have to transition to vacation or sick leave after that.
The company said that at the end of the day Friday, it had 133 confirmed cases among employees worldwide, up from 118 a day earlier. Of those, 95 employees are in Washington.
Washington state has 7,666 confirmed cases of the virus and 322 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally this afternoon.
The coronavirus mainly is spread through coughs and sneezes. For most people, it causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.