Philip Morris production stopped after second employee tests positive for COVID-19

The headquaters of Philip Morris International is photographed on October 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Philip Morris is temporarily stopping production at its Richmond plant after learning a second employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The cigarette and tobacco manufacturing company says it has enough inventory to keep the plant closed for an extended period of time. However, there is a chance the plant will stay closed longer as Philip Morris continues to monitor the developing situation.

“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.”

Philip Morris, whose parent company is the Altria Group, will continue paying its employees their regular salary. The company says it will consider whether additional measures are needed to help workers.

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