DETROIT – Autoworkers at all plants and offices at the Big 3 will be required to wear a mask, regardless of health status, the UAW confirmed on Tuesday.
The new mask policy starts Wednesday, Aug. 4, for all Ford, General Motors and Stellantis personnel at all plants, offices and warehouses. The mask requirement is in response to the revised CDC guidance on masks released last week, recommending masks in places were COVID-19 spread was high.
“The Task Force met and, after reviewing the recently changed CDC guidelines and community COVID-19 trends, decided it is best for worker safety to resume wearing masks in all worksites,” the UAW said. “While we know that masks can be uncomfortable, the spread of the Delta variant and recent data outlining the alarmingly high rate of transmission among those unvaccinated is a serious health threat.”
In Michigan, COVID-19 cases have been on the rise for the last few weeks.
The CDC is recommending people who live in areas experiencing “high” (red on the map) or “substantial” (orange) COVID-19 spread wear masks in indoor places, regardless of health status. About 79% of U.S. counties fall into this category as of July 31, according to the CDC’s data tracker, mostly in southern states. The entire state of Florida is in the “high” risk category.
Last week, only 10 counties in Michigan fell into these two categories, but now -- nearly half of the state’s population is entering the CDC mask guideline range. As of July 31, 24 counties now fall into the “substantial” community spread category, including Oakland, Livingston, Macomb and Saginaw counties, and a handful are in the “high” category.
The UAW is “strongly encouraging” all members, co-workers and families to get vaccinated. “The more our members, coworkers and their families are vaccinated, the quicker we can vanquish this deadly pandemic,” the UAW said.