Altria Group Inc. announced that it is temporarily suspending operations at Philip Morris (PM) USA’s manufacturing facility at Richmond, Va., “out of an abundance of caution” after a second employee tested positive for COVID-19.
The company expects the manufacturing center to suspend operations for the next two weeks but will continue to monitor the evolving situation.
PM USA has actively implemented business continuity plans and believes it has sufficient finished goods cigarette inventory for approximately two months, based on current estimated shipping volume, in addition to current wholesale and retail inventories. Separately, some Middleton domestic operations will also be suspended for two weeks due to COVID-19 related supply chain constraints.
Middleton believes it has sufficient finished goods cigar inventory for approximately three months based on current estimated shipping volume, in addition to current wholesale and retail inventories.
“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.”
During this temporary two-week suspension of plant operations, PM USA and Middleton will pay employees their regular base wages. PM USA and Middleton will evaluate providing additional pay continuation beyond that timeframe as needed.
Altria continues to follow updates from public health authorities and implementing CDC-recommended precautions including travel restrictions, remote working and social distancing.