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Boeing to resume commercial production in Washington next week

Boeing announced on Thursday it will resume all commercial airplane production in a “phased approach” at facilities around the Puget Sound region next week.

The company said it’s taken extra precautions to keep employees safe and to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Employees working on the 737, 747, 767 and 777 will return as early as third shift on April 20 with most returning to work by April 21. Employees for the 787 program will return as early as third shift April 23, with most returning to work by April 24.

Enhanced cleaning and social distancing practices include:

• Staggered shift start times
• Floor markings and signage
• Face coverings required for employees. Those who do not have a mask available will be provided with one.
• Providing required personal protective equipment to employees working in areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained for an extended period
• Asking employees to perform self-health checks before coming to work and to stay home if they are ill
• Employee wellness checks at the beginning of every shift and voluntary temperature screening at many manufacturing locations
• Contact tracing when an employee tests positive for COVID-19 to reduce risk to teammates
• Continued virtual meetings and employees who can work from home will continue to do
• Transportation and common areas adjusted for physical distancing
• Hand-washing stations in high-traffic areas and additional cleaning supplies available

“The health and safety of our employees, their families and communities is our shared priority,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and senior executive in the Pacific Northwest. “This phased approach ensures we have a reliable supply base, our personal protective equipment is readily available and we have all of the necessary safety measures in place to resume essential work for our customers.”

Boeing suspended operations last month.

The company sent back 2,500 of its 30,000 production employees, largely focused on defense projects, on Monday. It included employees working on the Navy anti-submarine plane built in Renton, an Air Force tanker in Renton, and ongoing maintenance on grounded 737 MAX planes stored in Moses Lake.

The company had fully shut down its Puget Sound operations in late March, just a day before Gov. Inslee announced his Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. That announcement came one day after the news that a Boeing employee passed away due to complications from COVID-19.

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