Shipyard moves to 2 shifts in effort to reduce virus spread

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John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) at Newport News Shipbuilding (Southside Daily Photo/ Courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries)
John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) at Newport News Shipbuilding (Southside Daily Photo/ Courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — A Virginia shipbuilding company will start running two shifts instead of three in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus, officials said.

Newport News Shipbuilding announced the shift change Wednesday, news outlets reported.

Spokesman Duane Bourne said the change doesn’t involve layoffs and will take effect on May 4. The shipyard is also extending its liberal leave policy until May 18.

Shipyard President Jennifer Boykin said the policy change was a safety measure to reduce “close personal contact” with workers, which would make social-distancing easier while continuing to run operations.

The shifts will be from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. In between the shifts, the shipyard will clean high-traffic and high touch-point areas as another effort to reduce spreading the new coronavirus.

A total of 23 people who work at the shipyard have the virus and are now in quarantine, The Daily Press reported.

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