Ford Motor Co. is reinstating mask requirements for some workers to slow the spread of the aggressive new strain of coronavirus, telling employees Tuesday that it requires face-covering at factories in Missouri and Florida.
The company is also ordering its U.S. employees planning international business travel to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Ford, based in Dearborn, Michigan, said in a statement. The move comes after General Motors Co. reinstated the mandate to use masks at a factory in Missouri, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reverted to stricter mask rules.
Detroit automakers and United Auto Workers lifted mask bans on July 12 as vaccinations became more widespread. But as the delta variant of the virus spreads, US health officials, including Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, have advised a return to mask-wearing of vaccinated people in some public spaces.
“With a data-driven approach to our global Covid-19 protocols and an increase in cases in certain regions of the United States, Ford is re-establishing face mask protocols in selected states,” Ford said in a statement. “We will continue to analyze the data on COVID-19 cases to make further changes to the protocol.”
GM said Tuesday it has not expanded the requirement beyond its pickup and van plant in Wentsville, Missouri. A spokesman for Stellantis NV, formed from the merger of the French PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said the company does not require masks.
Ford has a plant in Kleikomo, Missouri, which employs over 7,000 people and makes the best-selling F-150 pickup trucks and Transit vans. In Florida, the automaker has a parts warehouse and Ford Credit offices.
A UAW spokesman said the union is working with car manufacturers through its Covid working group and will make decisions on a case-by-case basis.