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Boeing to Limit N95 Masks for Returning Workers, Stoking Concern

April 17, 2020, 3:27 PM

Boeing Co. faces a quandary as it reopens its Seattle-area factories: how to keep its employees safe while minimizing the use of protective gear that’s desperately needed for medical workers.

The planemaker plans to limit scarce N95 masks for plant workers, relying mainly on cloth face coverings. In an April 9 letter to Washington state officials, Boeing cited new U.S. government guidelines directing companies to reserve the respirators for hospital staff on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While fabric face coverings are federally approved, union officials worry they won’t adequately protect mechanics toiling shoulder-to-shoulder in tight spaces such ...

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