Ford announced on Jan.


DETROIT – Ford Motor is releasing mask requirements for workers and visitors to facilities in Missouri and Florida, both of which are emerging hotspots for Delta-variant Covid-19 infections.

The company will also require US employees planning international business trips to be vaccinated against Covid-19, Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker confirmed on Wednesday.

“The health and safety of our workforce remains our top priority. With a data-driven approach to our global COVID-19 logs and the increase in cases in certain US regions, Ford is reintroducing face mask protocols in select states, “Felker said in an email statement. “We will continue to evaluate COVID-19 case data to make further protocol changes.”

In Missouri, Ford’s Kansas City assembly plant employs approximately 7,250 people who build the Ford F-150 Pickup and the Transit Transporter. It has offices and parts stores in Florida, but no factories.

Ford’s move follows General Motors, who last week reintroduced a mask mandate at a Missouri plant due to an increase in cases in the region.

Felker said Ford’s decision was made before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Tuesday that fully vaccinated people wear masks again in locations with high rates of Covid transmission.

United Auto Workers spokesman Brian Rothenberg said the union has had discussions with medical experts and companies because “they make these decisions from place to place.”

The new mask mandates come about a month after the UAW, which represents tens of thousands of auto workers, and Detroit automakers, including Stellantis, agreed to make face masks optional for employees fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

GM said it was reviewing the latest CDC guidance and “determining how this could affect our current COVID-19 security protocols”. Stellantis did not immediately respond to comment.

Face masks have been a major complaint from auto workers over the past year, many of whom have physical jobs in hot environments.