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Boeing’s Puget Sound operations temporarily shut down due to COVID-19

Boeing is temporarily shutting down its Puget Sound sites in the state of Washington as the aircraft maker grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said the shutdown would last 14 days beginning Wednesday.

The move comes amid a state of emergency in Washington, which has been especially hard hit by the COVID-19 outbreak with more than 1,700 confirmed cases, as of Monday.

Nearly half of Boeing’s more than 150,000 employees work in the state.

“This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live,” Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said in a statement. “We continue to work closely with public health officials, and we’re in contact with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders who are affected by this temporary suspension.”

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Boeing 737 on the tarmac

The company said it would “monitor government guidance and actions” during that period and would conduct “deep cleaning activities” at the same time.

Puget Sound-area Boeing employees who were already working from home will continue to do so.

Production workers temporarily sidelined by the shutdown will receive paid leave for the first 10 workdays. That’s twice the amount under Boeing’s typical policy and will cover the entire two-week period, after which it’s unclear whether they’ll receive similar compensation if the suspension is extended.

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