It’s only been a mere couple of weeks since the United Auto Workers (UAW) union revised its mask mandate for autoworkers, allowing vaccinated employees to work mask-free for the first time in over a year. This decision came after the CDC revised its guidance on face coverings in May, suggesting that those who have been vaccinated no longer needed to wear masks indoors in most settings. However, now that the CDC has reversed course on that decision as the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to gain a foothold in the U.S., Ford mask mandates have changed once again as well.
According to Automotive News, Ford mask mandates have been reinstated at the automaker’s facilities located in Florida and Missouri – the latter being the home of the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant. Both states have experienced sharp rises in positive COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. Additionally, Ford will require all of its U.S. employees to be fully vaccinated before they embark on any international business travel, as recommended by the CDC. These changes to Ford’s mask mandates could be the first of many to come, according to the automaker.
“We will continue to evaluate COVID-19 case data to make further protocol changes,” Ford said in a statement.
Following the CDC’s decision to ease its mask recommendations, the UAW and all Big 3 Detroit automakers – Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis – decided to keep the existing mandate in place following a review from the UAW’s COVID-19 Joint Task Force, which did so out of “an abundance of caution.”
Meanwhile, both Ford and the UAW continue to encourage autoworkers to get vaccinated. Ford has been offering on-site vaccines for its employees at a number of its U.S. plants for some time now now, including the Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant, Ford Van Dyke Transmission Plant, Ford Rawsonville Components Plant, Ford Lima Engine Plant, Kansas City Assembly Plant, Ford Michigan Assembly Plant, Ford Chicago Assembly Plant, and the Ford Chicago Stamping Plant.