Just days after Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) reopened its assembly plants in the United States, the company has temporarily shut down two factories due to positive COVID-19 tests.
Separate plants in Chicago and Michigan were closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. The plants make the Ford Explorer, F-150 pickup, and other popular vehicles.
This is a huge development and could signal issues for the wider economy, as it reinforces the need for stringent safety procedures and social distancing in workplace environments.
Interruptions Likely to be Brief
Both plants were only reopened on Monday, meaning they were operating for less than a week before the latest closure. The production stoppages are likely to be brief, with both factories expected to be fully operational by the end of this week.
Ford has implemented enhanced safety measures like temperature checks, the provision of personal protective equipment, and changes to how people operate on the factory floor with less direct contact.
The employees who tested positive will be asked to self-quarantine for two weeks. Their work areas have been disinfected. Ford and other automotive companies have improved their plant cleaning schedules to disinfect workstations between shifts.
Supply Chain Interruptions
In addition to the Coronavirus-positive employees this week, Ford also faced challenges from supply shortages and disruptions.
Lear, a supplier of seating and electrical systems to Ford, was unable to deliver some items this week due to its own internal Coronavirus disruptions. A staff member at Lear’s Indiana factory tested positive for the disease, causing a temporary halt in production.
Employees Were Likely Infected Before Returning to Work
Ford’s employees were likely infected before returning to work. The average incubation period for the Coronavirus is around five days. A spokesperson said in a statement that “Our protocols are in place to help stop the spread of the virus.”
Ford Stock is Still an Opportunity for Investors
Outside of this setback, analysts are confident that Ford will begin to recover in the coming weeks.
The stock is significantly down from its 52-week peak, creating an investment opportunity for bargain hunters. The stock market is starting to trend upwards as economic restrictions are removed, and this low-cost auto stock could be the perfect addition to a new or established portfolio.
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