Thursday, September 21

Detroit Three automakers to make masking optional at all US plants

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WASHINGTON — General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler parent Stellantis NV said on Tuesday they are making masking optional for workers at all US facilities.

In mid-May, the Detroit Three automakers and the United Auto Workers — which have a COVID-19 joint task force — reinstated a requirement that employees wear masks in southeastern Michigan, which was dealing with high COVID-19 rates.

The task force said on Tuesday it “strongly recommends masking” if a facility is in a high-risk county as identified by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) but that they will not be required.

GM said the change was effective immediately.

The Detroit Three automakers had said in early March they would allow auto workers to stop wearing masks at workplaces where US health officials said it was safe to do so.

CDC masking guidelines issued in February shifted from a focus on the rate of COVID-19 transmission to monitoring local hospitalizations, hospital capacity and infection rates.

The Detroit Three did not mandate employees get vaccinated in the United States but recommended workers do so. (Reporting by David Shepardson, editing by Deepa Babington)