RICHMOND, Va. —Altria Group’s subsidiary Philip Morris USA (PM USA) has begun bringing its cigarette and tobacco products factory back up and operational on a “modified basis following extensive sanitary procedures [and] implementing enhanced best practices,” as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health authorities, an official told CSP Daily News.
The maker of Marlboro cigarettes March 19 said it temporarily shut down its Richmond, Va.-based manufacturing facilities for two weeks due to coronavirus precautions.
“The health and welfare of our employees is our top priority, and we are approaching the startup of the factory with care, discipline and enhanced health and safety protocols,” officials said in an April 6 response to CSP’s request for an update.
Part of those new protocols is limiting facility access to essential employees.
Regarding product inventory, the Altria spokesperson said 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.
On the same day the Richmond-based company announced the temporary closure and that two factory employees had contracted the coronavirus, Altria officials also said Howard Willard, Altria’s CEO, had tested positive for COVID-19 and would take a temporary leave of absence. The Altria spokesperson said Willard is currently recovering at home.