Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare) has announced it will halt production at its plants in the Puget Sound area and at Moses Lake in response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the state of Washington.

"Boeing plans to begin reducing production activity today [March 24] and projects the suspension of such operations to begin on Wednesday, March 25, at sites across the Puget Sound area. The suspension of production operations will last 14 days, during which Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and its associated impacts on all company operations," the manufacturer said.

The Puget Sound area hosts Boeing's two largest assembly sites; at Everett and Renton, as well as its facilities at Seattle Boeing Field.

The manufacturer said that while some employees will continue to work from home, those who are unable to do so will qualify for a 10-day paid leave, covering the entire two-week suspension.

Boeing added that it was working to minimise the downtime's impact on its defence and space programmes. Critical distribution operations in support of airline, government, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) customers will continue.

The firm's site at Charleston, SC will continue to be operational for the time being.

Embraer has already reduced its operations to the bare minimum with most employees on leave. Airbus, in turn, recently announced it will resume limited production in Spain and France after a short break. De Havilland Aircraft of Canada and Viking Air have suspended the production of their aircraft.