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The Masks Come Back on at Ford plants in Kentucky

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The pandemic situation has, for the moment anyways, diverged in Canada and the United States. Numbers have been down for weeks in the Great White North, though authorities are keeping a close eye on the progress of the Delta variant. South of the border, however, the situation is more worrisome as the stalled vaccination campaign has opened the door to a new surge in cases.

As of July 28, only 57.7 percent of the U.S. population had received a first dose, and only 49.7 percent a second. This is not nearly high enough to prevent outbreaks in settings where the majority of people are not protected.

In comparison, in Canada, the figures for the first and second doses are more encouraging; 71.5 and 57.6 percent, respectively.

It’s little surprise then to see the return of certain sanitary measures in some areas of the United States. Ford is being proactive, as they seek to avoid a repeat of last year's situation where plants had to be shut down. As a result, the company announced yesterday that it will reinstate mandatory masking for workers at its Kentucky plants, two days after making a similar announcement for workers in Missouri and Florida.

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The automaker informed employees that the new regulation will go into effect Saturday. Ford has two assembly plants in the state: the truck plant where employees build the Super Duty, Expedition and Navigator models on the Lincoln side, and the Louisville assembly plant, where the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair is assembled.

A company spokeswoman reiterated a statement released Tuesday that Ford could make additional changes, if necessary, based on evolving data. The Delta variant of the virus that causes Covid-19 continues to spread through different regions of the United States.

This week, Ford also said it would require its U.S. employees to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 prior to any international business travel, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.