Ford announced the requirement to employees this week, citing rising case rates as the delta variant spreads across the country. Only facilities located in Missouri and Florida, two of the states with the highest positivity rates, are under mask mandates as of Wednesday.
Employees are also required to get vaccinated prior to international business trips.
Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said the mandates were an effort to protect employees and visitors as cases continue to rise.
“With a data-driven approach to our global COVID-19 protocols and the increase in cases in specific U.S. regions, Ford is reinstating face mask protocols in select states,” Felker told The Missouri Times. “We will continue to evaluate COVID-19 case data to make further protocol changes.”
Felker said the company was producing its own masks and providing them to employees, something it has done throughout the pandemic. The company is also encouraging all workers who are medically able to get vaccinated.
Ford employs more than 7,250 workers at its Claycomo plant, which produces Ford’s F-150 trucks and Transit van. The plant is located in the Kansas City area, which just reinstated its indoor mask mandate for individuals who are at least 5 years old — regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status — for the month of August. Less than 40 percent of the city is fully vaccinated.
General Motors (GM) also began requiring masks at its Wentzville plant last week, the only facility under the mandate, as positive case rates in the area saw a spike. The plant is located near St. Louis, which also reinstated its indoor mask mandate this week.
“That decision was made after our GM medical team recommended it based upon local infection rates, community spread of the virus with a focus on keeping our employees safe while they are at work,” Dan Flores, GM’s communications manager, said. “The GM medical team is reviewing the latest CDC guidelines and determining how it might impact our current COVID-19 safety protocols.”
Flores said GM was also providing masks for its employees. GM’s company-wide mask policy, backed by the United Auto Workers, was dropped for fully vaccinated workers last month.
More than 11,700 people have tested positive in Missouri over the past week, and 32 people have died. About 50 percent of the adult population in the state has completed vaccination.
Cameron Gerber studied journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, he earned an associate’s degree from State Fair Community College. Cameron is a native of Eldon, Missouri.
Contact Cameron at email@example.com.