General Motors and the United Auto Workers union have agreed to reinstate mandatory mask requirements inside of the automaker’s U.S. facilities starting Wednesday.
The decision comes after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its mask guidance, which suggests all people wear a mask when indoors when in public regardless of their vaccination status.
GM and the UAW, along with Ford and Stellantis, got rid of its mask mandate for fully vaccinated employees on July 12th. The COVID-19 joint task force, which consists of representatives from the Detroit Big Three and the UAW, said it decided to drop mask mandates in July after reviewing new data from the CDC and other medical experts.
The CDC’s decision to issue updated COVID-19 guidance is related to a surge in domestic cases of the Delta variant of the virus, which was first discovered in India late last year. The Delta variant is believed to be more contagious than previous variants of the virus that have cropped up in the U.S.
“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,” the UAW said in a statement released this week. “We will continue to closely monitor this situation to ensure we are doing everything possible to keep our families, members and employees safe.”
The UAW has said previously that it will not make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for its members, although the union has been actively encouraging members to receive the shot in order to prevent plant shutdowns and other production setbacks.
“We know that the best way to fight this virus is by getting vaccinated,” the UAW also said. “The Task Force is strongly encouraging all members, coworkers and their families to roll up their sleeves so we can move more quickly on once again relaxing mask protocols. The more our members, coworkers and their families are vaccinated, the quicker we can vanquish this deadly pandemic.”