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Boeing plans to reopen its Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, plant on April 20 after employees testing positive for coronavirus prompted a two-week closure of its helicopter production lines so they could be thoroughly sterilized.
The company on April 3 closed the plant outside Philadelphia, which is a major center of U.S. military rotorcraft manufacturing, becoming the first and so far only prime U.S. defense contractor to close an active production line because of the ongoing pandemic.
Boeing builds the H-47 Chinook for the U.S. Army and international customers there, as well as the fuselage and post-combat refit for the V-22 Osprey. Boeing also installs military specific equipment and finalizes assembly of the Air Force’s new MH-139 Grey Wolf, built across town by Leonardo Helicopters at the facility.
“During the scheduled two weeks of suspended operations . . . the company has been working to restart production with enhanced safety measures,” Boeing said in a statement. “Boeing will resume operations in our production facilities and other areas deemed essential on Monday, April 20. The number one priority is and will continue to be protecting the health and safety of our employees, their families and all of our stakeholders.”
Boeing has enacted several precautionary measures that go into effect when it reopens April 20. They include enhanced cleaning of the entire facility and implementing improved procedures. Signage promoting enhanced hygiene is posted throughout the facility and hand-washing stations have been added at entry points to the site.