Boeing informed its employees on April 10 that the company is working to safely restart limited work on jets at a few sites in Washington as early as Monday.
The company said it has put in place extra safety precautions, personal protection equipment requirements, and will strictly ensure social distancing to look after the health and safety of those recalled to work, reported the Seattle Times.
The company is recalling 2,500 of the 30,000 employees idled by the shutdown and in a message told its employees that some other “essential labs and support teams will also resume to support critical customer needs.”
The recalled employees will be placed at Boeing’s defense programs, including the Navy’s P-8 anti-submarine plane built in Renton and the Air Force KC-46 tanker built in Everett.
Some employees will also be placed at the Moses Lake to support the maintenance operations of the grounded 737 MAXs.
Boeing imposed a two week shutdown on March 25 following widespread criticism after a growing number of employees started testing positive of the CCP virus and one died.
“This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live,” Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun had said in a statement about the shutdown on March 23.
“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. We regret the difficulty this will cause them, as well as our employees, but it’s vital to maintain health and safety for all those who support our products and services, and to assist in the national effort to combat the spread of COVID-19,” Calhoun added.
Due to the accelerating spread of COVID-19 in WA state, we’re temporarily suspending Puget Sound area production operations for 14 days starting Mar 25. This is a necessary step to protect our employees and the communities where they work and live.
— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) March 23, 2020
The company added that it was working to minimize the impact of the shutdown on its defense and space projects.
Jon Holden, president of the International Association of Machinists union District 751, said April 10 that the restart “certainly is positive as long as Boeing can provide a safe workplace.”
The news about limited restart comes five days after the company announced an indefinite lockdown in its local plants as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19, reported the Seattle Times. The affected employees had to take vacation or sick leave, or file for unemployment.
Associated Press contributed to this report.