Detroit, Michigan: General Motors, Ford and Chrysler parent Stellantis NV said they are reinstating the face mask mandate for employees in southeastern Michigan, due to high levels of COVID-19.
In early March, the Detroit automakers said they would allow workers to stop wearing masks at work places, in line with the advice of U.S. health officials.
They added that they would adopt revised Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines allowing U.S. workers, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, to not wear masks if those facilities were not in high-risk counties.
In February, mask guidelines changed the focus on the rate of COVID-19 transmissions to monitoring local hospitalizations, hospital capacity and infection rates.
Six southeastern Michigan counties, including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw, have again been listed as having high COVID-19 rates by the CDC, which recommends wearing masks indoors in public settings in those counties.
Additionally, Ford stated that it would temporarily reinstate face mask mandates at all of its plants in high-risk areas, as deemed by the CDC.
"Company-issued face masks will again be required for employees, contractors and visitors at all Stellantis facilities in those Michigan counties. It is expected that the requirement will be in place for the next two weeks," Stellantis said.
GM said it "will be implementing COVID protection measures at our facilities in Oakland, Wayne, Livingston and Macomb counties, given that the CDC has now listed them as high risk."
Meanwhile, the United Auto Workers union has said if "a facility is located in high-risk counties as identified by the CDC, they will require masking and physical distancing."
According to the CDC, some 4.25 percent of U.S. counties are currently listed as having high rates of COVID-19.