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Manufacturers methodically resume production as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

Posted at 6:37 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 18:37:53-04

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — While manufacturers are allowed to open back up this week, some have a lot to line up before they can, after all they are not going back to business as usual. Suppliers 7 Action News spoke to are taking numerous steps to make sure COVID-19 doesn’t invade their workplace.

Usually in the manufacturing world processes and procedures are proprietary, but when it comes to fighting COVID-19 everyone is working together. LEAR Corporation published a Safe Work Playbook with 80 pages of policies on sanitizing work places, PPE and social distancing.

John McElroy from Autoline Daily says it is because of plans like that and experience in recent weeks in other countries that manufacturers are being allowed to open before many other businesses.

“They have weeks of experience with this in Europe and China. They know what they have got to do. The practices they have adopted have worked well there,” said McElroy.

“We have had plenty of time to put in place robust procedures, to get clean, to disinfect,” said Bruce Fori, General Manager of Fori Automation in Shelby Township.

Fori says a small number of workers have been on the job through this all, fulfilling essential orders, such as defense contracts. They also have manufactured face shields for front-line workers. However with non-essential manufacturing now permitted, they are still waiting until next week to implement the next phase of staffing levels. Money is tight and he says it is important manufacturing resumes safely so it can continue for both the health of workers and financial success.

They are moving methodically, making sure they have everything they need to be safe.

“We had some issues with procuring PPE. We have been able to get surgical masks, but we have a fantastic group of people here. I just took some custom tailored masks from employees. Some are Red Wings or Detroit Tigers masks,” said Fori.

He says workers have told him they are eager to get back on the job.

“Everybody I speak with, they are like Bruce, can we please can we please come back? When can we come back?” said Fori.

The Big Three have also all said they plan to reopen plants next Monday.

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