POLITICS
20/05/2020 7:46 AM AEST

Ford Changes Mind, Won't Insist Trump Wear Mask During Visit [UPDATE]

Previously, a Ford spokesperson said company policy requires that "everyone wears PPE to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

UPDATE: 4:53 p.m. ET ― Officials for Ford Motor Co. have backpedaled on a decree that President Donald Trump wear a mask when he visits a plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on Thursday, Bloomberg reported.

A company spokeswoman told the outlet Ford would defer to the White House’s own policies on mask-wearing.

PREVIOUSLY:

When President Donald Trump visits a Ford Motor Co. plant on Thursday, he may finally have to do something he’s resisted up to this point: wear a mask.

The president is scheduled to visit the Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, even though the visit technically violates an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that prohibits “nonessential” plant tours.

However, the governor’s office has signaled it will not stand in the way of the visit, Whitmer spokesman Zack Pohl told Crain’s Detroit.

“While the president’s visit is contrary to the governor’s order, this is an opportunity to showcase how important Michigan is to the response to COVID-19 and rebuilding our nation’s economy.”

But there is a catch: Ford officials say they will insist the mask-averse president will have to wear one during his visit.

“Our policy is that everyone wears PPE to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” a Ford spokesperson told The Detroit Bureau. “We shared all of Ford’s safety protocols, including our manufacturing playbook, employee pamphlet and self-assessment survey with the White House ahead of time and in preparation for this trip.”

It remains to be seen whether Trump will follow the reasonable request, especially since he wouldn’t wear a mask when touring a mask factory in Arizona earlier this month.

“I don’t think that I’m going to be doing it,” he said after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines to encourage mask usage.

White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the president planned to go along with the mask order.

When asked Tuesday whether he would don the mask on Thursday, the president told reporters, “Where it’s appropriate, I would do it, certainly.”

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