Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer has a warning for local residents: if they don’t wear a face mask, the state will be forced to once again close retail storefronts and other businesses – and that would include automotive assembly plants.
Michigan initially gave automakers like General Motors the green light to re-open their vehicle assembly plants in the state back in May, when COVID-19 cases had begun to subside in the state. The pandemic situation appears to have taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks, though, with Michigan reporting its highest daily case total since May 14th on Wednesday. As of this writing, Michigan had just under 80,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 6,351 deaths.
GM, along with its crosstown rivals at Ford and Fiat Chrysler, will be anxious to ensure its vehicle assembly plants remain open. GM builds a handful of important models in Michigan, including the Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD at Flint Assembly and the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave at Lansing Delta Township, among more. The Detroit Big Three also operate countless parts and components plants in Michigan that serve various assembly plants across the nation.
GM has said previously that it does not believe its vehicle assembly plants and parts factories pose a health hazard to employees. With the safety protocols it has put in place, which include taking employees’ temperatures and requiring them to wear PPE at all times when indoors, the automaker is confident it can keep its plants up and running while also protecting employees from COVID-19.
The UAW recently asked GM to idle its Arlington Assembly plant in Texas while the number of COVID-19 cases in the state subsidies, but the automaker denied the request, saying “there’s no need to interrupt production,” as it has put in place ” protocols designed to keep the virus out of the facility.”