(WXYZ) — Ford officials say they have been ramping up production in China since the end of February, they will restart production in Europe next week and will run assembly lines in the US as soon as Michigan allows a return to work.
In a conference call, Ford officials say all employees will be required to wear goggles or face shields and cloth face masks so that they can work within the 6 feet safety distance where needed. They also outlined several other safety protocols.
Ford is the largest US automotive producer with employees and vehicle production.
Ford also announced today a milestone of 10 million face shields produced in a plant in Redford with 350 paid volunteer United Autoworkers Union members. Ford also says they’ve produced 4 million cloth masks at the Van Dyke plant.
The UAW has said COVID-19 testing will be needed for restarting production, but said in a statement that availability and accuracy of those tests remains fluid.
Ford says widespread testing won’t be available to the company for weeks or months. Workers will be sent to medical facilities for testing.
The union also said they are strongly advocating for worker self-reporting and testing for those exposed to the virus or exhibiting symptoms.
Ford says production will have to be coordinated with suppliers and dealers in the weeks ahead and everything is riding on Michigan leading reopening. That remains on hold for now until May 15, unless changed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.