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Harley-Davidson suspends most US production, Menomonee Falls employee tests positive for coronavirus

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Harley-Davidson announced Wednesday that the company will be suspending production at the majority of U.S. facilities as of March 18.

This includes a closure of the Wisconsin facilities Tomahawk Operations and Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations in Menomonee Falls. 

Harley-Davidson closed its Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations facility Wednesday afternoon after an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. The company says the facility will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. 

On Monday, Harley-Davidson asked employees at its Milwaukee-area headquarters and Product Development Center to work remotely if possible through at least the end of March. 

All Harley-Davidson sponsored events have been canceled until mid-April.

Marquette economics professor Heather Kohls said the Harley shut down will have a trickle down effect to smaller Milwaukee businesses.

She says Harley-Davidson would not have done well in during this pandemic regardless, and it might make since to wait a little.

“For Harley-Davidson, their product is not really a necessity," Kohls said. "So as a result, it’s one of the first products we see cut in a recession like this, so it looks to me like they had an employee that got sick, and decided to close their plant, but it’s also not a bad plan to slow production down a little bit, so they can give the economy time to start to grow.”

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