Philip Morris USA suspending operations after 2nd employee tests positive for COVID-19

Posted at 5:14 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 07:59:38-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Philip Morris USA is temporarily suspending operations at its Manufacturing Center in Richmond after a second employee tested positive for COVID-19, the Altria Group announced Thursday.

Officials say the move is “out of an abundance of caution” after learning of the second positive test.

“We are committed to protecting the safety and well-being of our employees, contractors, their families and the communities where we operate,” said Billy Gifford, Altria’s Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer. “We take the threat of COVID-19 seriously and have been actively implementing plans to minimize business disruptions and their potential impact to our employees, consumers and customers.”

The company expects the Manufacturing Center to suspend operations for the next two weeks, at least.

"Altria continues to follow updates from public health authorities and implementing CDC-recommended precautions including travel restrictions, remote working, and social distancing," said a company spokesperson.

During the suspension of operations, Philip Morris USA and Middleton will pay employees their regular base wages.