Wentzville, MO – Nearly 4,000 workers at General Motors assembly plant here had to resume wearing face masks and social distancing last week in response to increased spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
In a memo sent to members last week, UAW Local 2250, the union that represents workers at the plant, said the GM Medical Team had been monitoring plant employee COVID cases, community trends and CDC/OSHA guidance and determined the Wentzville Assembly plant would return to mandatory mask use for all employees and anyone entering the plant beginning on July 20.
“We have been informed by the company and UAW International that based on the severe upward trend of COVID cases in the surrounding areas all GM Wentzville Assembly Center employees will be once again required to wear masks upon entering the plant,” the memo read.
GM spokesman David Barnas confirmed the reinstatement of the mask mandate. “The health and safety of our team members will continue to dictate our COVID 19 protocols,” Barnas said, suggesting GM’s COVID-19 protocols could continue to change as COVID-19 cases rise and fall in certain areas.
“After reviewing the COVID-19 case rates surrounding our Wentzville Assembly Plant, General Motors will reinstate the 100 percent mask requirement at this plant to provide an added layer of protection for employees,” Barnas said.
Southwest Missouri and northern Arkansas have had the nation’s largest outbreak of COVID-19 recently, driven mainly by the highly contagious Delta variant. Officials warn it could keep increasing if vaccination rates stay low.
Missouri reported 3,031 new cases of COVID-19 on July 21, a daily case count not seen since mid-January. Health officials say Missouri’s low vaccination rate has caused it to become an epicenter of new infections. Only about 40 percent of Missouri residents are fully vaccinated. Missouri now has the fourth highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, and the second highest per capita rate of cases.
St. Louis and St. Louis County leaders reinstated mask mandates this week, requiring masks in indoor public places and on public transportation for people age five and older, including those who are vaccinated.
In response to the rising number of infections of the delta variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus, St. Louis City and County have reimposed mask mandates effective July 26. MASKS ARE AGAIN REQUIRED for all indoor events, workplaces and gatherings. Health officials are also encouraging mask wearing in outdoor gatherings.
Missouri, Texas and Florida now account for some 40 percent of new infections, with unvaccinated individuals accounting for 90 percent of the new cases. With more 500 area residents already killed by COVID-19, why risk your health, your family’s health or that of your coworkers or neighbors? We urge all our readers to get vaccinated.