After a 2-month production halt, General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler began to gradually open its Michigan factories today for workers. With changes put in place to protect workers from the coronavirus, the workplaces they will be returning to will look somewhat different from the ones they left in mid-March.
The reopening of U.S. factories are practices based on companies that have reopened in Asia and Europe. Factory employees are said to be working at least six feet apart from one another, wearing surgical-style face masks and clear plastic face shields or goggles whenever they’re required to work close in proximity. Workstations and "common areas", such as dining rooms will be separated by clear plastic panels.
“We work really hard at imagining a world with Covid-19 in an assembly plant,” said Ford CEO Jim Hackett in an interview. “So they have lots of consideration, of course, for social distancing. We used to have two people, for example, that would be inside the vehicle as it’s going down the assembly line. We stopped that.”
In addition, all three companies said they would thoroughly and frequently clean facilities and allot extra time between work shifts to do so. The automakers said they will also screen employees with questionnaires before they leave for work and administer temperature checks as they enter plants or other facilities.