Ford requires visitors to wear masks but unclear if Trump will comply

20 May 2020 - 09:45 By Reuters
US President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media following the weekly Senate Republican caucus luncheon at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., US, on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
US President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media following the weekly Senate Republican caucus luncheon at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., US, on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
Image: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ford Motor Co on Tuesday reiterated its policy that all visitors to its manufacturing plants must wear a mask but said the White House will ultimately decide if US President Donald Trump will comply during a planned visit.

Trump plans to visit a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on Thursday that is being used to manufacture ventilators. Ford issued a revised statement late on Tuesday that signalled it may allow Trump to violate a policy it spent weeks locking in to allow it to operate its plants safely.

Asked whether he will wear a mask when he visits Ford, Trump said that “where it's appropriate I would do it”. The decision depends on the situation and if he is “standing right next to everybody”, he added.

“Our policy is that everyone wears PPE to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” Ford spokesperson Rachel McCleery said on Tuesday. “The White House has its own safety and testing policies in place and will make its own determination.”

The company's policy handbook to address the coronavirus pandemic, released on May 1, says flatly that face masks must be worn “at all times” at US manufacturing plants by all employees and “all visitors”.

McCleery said the company “shared all of Ford’s safety protocols, including our manufacturing playbook, employee pamphlet and self-assessment survey with the White House ahead of time and in preparation for this trip”.

Last week, Trump toured a mask distribution centre in Pennsylvania but did not wear a mask.

The United Auto Workers and the Detroit Three automakers held talks about safety protocols to allow for Monday's resumption of auto production.

Last month, Vice-President Mike Pence wore a mask during a tour of a General Motors plant in Indiana making ventilators, as did GM CEO Mary Barra. But Barra told participants at a roundtable after a tour that they could remove their masks.


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