GM workers in Texas will continue to wear facemasks while on the job even after the state lifts its current mask mandate, the automaker has confirmed.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued an executive order to roll back the state’s current facemask mandate, Reuters reports, forbidding local jurisdictions from issuing fines or penalties to residents that don’t wear a face covering while inside an establishment. Despite the executive order, GM workers will still be required to wear facemasks inside the automaker’s Texas facilities – including at the sprawling GM Arlington Assembly Plant.
“We’ll keep our COVID-19 safety protocols in place to ensure we continue to protect our employees,” GM spokesman Patrick Morrissey told Reuters.
While Texas will no longer require residents to wear masks indoors while in public, many large corporations are deciding to stick with their existing mask mandates, as an outbreak of COVID-19 within one of their facilities could derail production and reflect poorly on the company. Toyota, Target and Macy’s are also sticking with their current mask mandates for employees, Reuters said.
GM sent a 40-page handbook to its employees at the height of the pandemic last year, which outlined best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. In addition to wearing facemasks and other PPE at work, GM workers are required to pass through a temperature screening before entering the shop floor and must answer a COVID-19 symptom questionnaire. Employees are also asked to sanitize their workspace between shifts and advised to stay six feet apart from co-workers whenever possible.
GM produces its own facemasks for internal use and for donation to hospitals, clinics and other places where the PPE may be needed. The automaker’s facemasks received N95 certification last year, confirming the respirators are capable of filtering out 95 percent of airborne particles in a worst-case testing scenario. GM’s Warren, Michigan facemask production has produced over four million facemasks to date.