Only a small number of Boeing’s staff will be recalled for “a safe and orderly restart of limited operations” later this week, but those returning to work will be provided with personal protective equipment and observe social distancing guidelines in order to resume production of several aircraft destined for US military use, the Seattle Times reported on Friday.
According to the paper, about 2,500 of Boeing’s roughly 30,000 staff will be going back to work building the US Navy’s new sub hunter, the P-8 Poseidon, which is built in Renton, Washington, and the KC-46 Pegasus aerial refueling and transport aircraft, which is assembled in Everett, Washington. Both are based on civilian airliners.
Boeing had issued no public statement on the reopening when this story went to publication. It’s unclear how this move relates to a seemingly conflicting mandatory stay-at-home order from Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
On April 6, Boeing announced it was extending the temporary closure of several facilities in the Puget Sound region, including those in Renton and Everett, “until further notice.” They have been closed since March 25, as Washington was one of the first areas to experience a COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.
Boeing’s other shuttered factories, in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, remain closed. At all its facilities, employees able to work remotely have continued to do so, and the rest have been given paid medical leave.
According to the most recent data from the Washington State Department of Health, as of Saturday, the state had confirmed 10,411 cases of COVID-19 and suffered 508 deaths.
On Monday, Inslee announced that his state, along with fellow West Coast states Oregon and California, would coordinate on a “shared vision” for reopening social interaction after the crisis ends, according to KIRO.