Ford, GM, Stellantis to reinstate mask mandate at most Michigan facilities

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Jeep maker Stellantis NV are reimplementing a mask mandate starting Monday at their facilities in Michigan counties that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have labeled as "high" risk for COVID-19 infection.

Ford's statement didn't specify how long the mandate will last. Stellantis says it expects the requirement for the company-issued masks will be in place for two weeks. It affects employees, contractors and visitors at all facilities located in counties where the CDC now is recommending masks indoors. There are 16 in Michigan, including Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labeled several counties in Michigan as having "high" transmission of COVID-19, automakers including Stellantis NV say they are reimplementing a mask mandate at their facilities.

"The health and safety of our workforce is our top priority as we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation," Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said in a statement. "We are temporarily reinstating a face mask requirement at all Ford facilities located in areas that the CDC has classified as orange/ high-risk due increased COVID-19 cases which currently impacts Wayne, Washtenaw, and Macomb counties."

GM spokesman David Barnas said the automaker will be inplementing COVID protection measures at its facilities in Oakland, Wayne, Livingston and Macomb counties and is in the process of communicating that to it employees.

Ford has assembly plants in Dearborn where its global headquarters resides, in Flat Rock and in Wayne. It also has engine and other components plants throughout Wayne, Washtenaw and Macomb counties.

Stellantis has its North American headquarters in Auburn Hills. It has assembly plants in Sterling Heights and Warren and two in Detroit, though Jefferson North Assembly Plant is down next week for retooling. It also has an engine complex in Trenton, a tool-and-die shop in Detroit and stamping plants in Warren and Sterling Heights.

The automaker additionally has an engine plant in Dundee, but Monroe County is labeled as having "medium" transmission, according to the CDC.

The Detroit Three automakers with the United Auto Workers announced in early March they were lifting the requirement for the face coverings regardless of vaccination status so long as the facilities were in areas that didn't have a high risk of transmission.

“Since the early days of the pandemic, our COVID-19 Joint Task Force (which includes UAW, Ford, General Motors and Stellantis) has met to regularly discuss COVID-19 protocols and procedures," UAW spokeswoman Sandra Engle said in a statement. 

"If a facility is located in high-risk counties as identified by the CDC, they will require masking and physical distancing. Current changes to masking rules at some locations are a result of this policy.”

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble

Staff Writer Kalea Hall contributed.