Autos

Michigan governor to allow state's auto manufacturing plants to reopen next week

Key Points
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will allow the state's auto manufacturing plants to reopen beginning Monday.
  • Most of the facilities have been shuttered since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The time frame makes it possible for auto suppliers to begin reopening plants ahead of major assembly plants for the Detroit automakers
Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan governor.
Bill Pugliano | Getty Images

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will allow the state's auto manufacturing plants, most of which have been shuttered since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, to reopen beginning Monday.

The time frame makes it possible for auto suppliers to begin reopening plants ahead of FordGeneral Motors and Fiat Chrysler, all of which have major manufacturing operations in the state and plan to restart production in the state on May 18.

"It's going to be a phased-in reengagement," Whitmer said during a news conference Thursday, citing the auto industry is crucial to reopening the state's economy.

Whitmer said the Detroit automakers have come to an agreement with the United Auto Workers union to restart production at 25% capacity. Automakers are expected to conduct pre-production work at their assembly plants next week.

Whitmer has drawn the ire of President Donald Trump several times during the coronavirus pandemic, including a tweet that called to "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" following a protest at Michigan's state capital over Whitmer's stay-at-home orders.

Under Whitmer's easing on manufacturing, facilities must adopt certain safety measures and protocols in an attempt to reduce the spread of the disease. They include temperature screenings, dedicated entry points and Covid-19 education programs, among other things.

"With these safety protocols, we feel that we can reengage," Whitmer said.

All are procedures that the Detroit automakers have already outlined to reopening their plants

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