Automobile

GM requires Wentzville workers to mask up

General Motors is requiring workers at its midsize pickup plant in Missouri to mask up again as coronavirus cases in the area rise.

The rule applies to all workers at Wentzville Assembly, said GM spokesman David Barnas.

Until last week, plant employees had been wearing masks since they returned to work in May 2020, following a two-month shutdown prompted by the coronavirus. Masks and other safeguards were designed to reduce the spread of the virus within plants, but some workers complained that the masks inhibited breathing and made it harder to socialize during breaks. Last month, GM, Ford Motor Co., Stellantis and the UAW dropped the mask mandate for vaccinated workers.

“The health and safety of our team members will continue to dictate our COVID-19 protocols,” Barnas said in a statement. “Our GM medical team will continue to monitor plant COVID cases, community trends and CDC/OSHA guidance.”

Wentzville Assembly builds the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups and the Chevy Express and GMC Savana commercial full-size vans.

The plant outside St. Louis is a vaccination site and has hosted multiple employee vaccination clinics, Barnas said.

The Detroit Free Press first reported the mask requirement late Monday.

Over the past week, Missouri has reported 14,487 new cases of the coronavirus and 92 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine. About 41 percent of the state’s residents are fully vaccinated.

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