Injection press maker Engel Holding GmbH has temporarily closed all of its factories in Austria after some workers were diagnosed with COVID-19.
After the fifth confirmed case at the company, Engel announced March 17 that it has closed all of its factories in Austria until April 15. On March 21, Engel reported that a sixth employee, at its large-machine plant in St. Valentin, had the virus.
The shutdown includes the headquarters factory in Schwertberg, the large machine plant in St. Valentin and the robot plant in Dietach. The sales, applications and service operations outside of the Engel factories are available for customers worldwide, company officials said.
"We are in contact with all affected colleagues. They are home and — considering the circumstances — they are doing well or are already on the road to recovery," the company said in a March 21 statement.
Engel officials closed the plants in Austria because of a strong increase in new infections in the regions of close to the factories.
"Overall, the number of new infections in Austria continues to rise sharply," the company said.
"The health and safety of our employees and their families is our highest priority," the company said. "With the plant closures, Engel wants to contribute to slowing down the spread of the virus."
The fast-changing nature of the coronavirus is shown in the series of Engel communications. The first announcement was March 15, saying that Engel in Austria had four confirmed coronavirus cases. Initially, the plan then was to close Schwertberg for two days, but that was later extended at all the operations in Austria, and extended to April 15.
Employees who had close contact with infected coworkers are in quarantine at home.
In early March, Engel canceled all events planned for the spring, restricted travel worldwide and switched to virtual meetings. The machinery maker also tightened hygiene measures in the plants, including additional disinfection stations.
Engel North America in York, Pa., has moved almost all employees to home offices. The company has taken health and safety measures to limit the potential risk of infection to the people who are still working in York to ensure operations and spare parts shipments.
"Service, spare parts, sales, applications engineering and administration are ready to support you to the extent that the current situation allows," Engel North America said on its website.