Workers and visitors at the Stellantis plants in Kokomo and Tipton will once again be required to wear masks as the number of new COVID-19 cases rise in the area.

The company said the mandate will take affect Monday and is required for everyone inside the facilities, regardless of a person’s vaccination status.

A company spokesperson said the mask mandate is only being reinstated at its Indiana facilities and the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois. The decision was based on CDC data regarding new COVID cases and positivity rates in the area, as well as its own internal data.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, Tipton County on Friday was at orange status and had a seven-day positivity rate of nearly 19%, which is currently the highest in the state. Howard County was also recently elevated from the blue to yellow status.

“Protecting the health and safety of our Stellantis workforce continues to be our top priority,” the company said in a statement. “As COVID cases are once again increasing in communities across the country, we continue to strongly advocate that our employees consider getting vaccinated.”

The reinstated mandate comes less than a month after the company lifted the restriction on July 12 following a decision by a virus task force with representatives from Ford, General Motors, Stellantis and the United Auto Workers. The policy change applied to all U.S. auto workers from the three companies.

In June, Stellantis also lifted other COVID precautions at its plants, including taking workers’ temperatures and the 10-minute cleaning routine that had been in place for over a year. Staggered shifts also stopped.

A company spokesperson said those measures are not being reinstated at this time.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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Carson Gerber is a reporter for the Kokomo Tribune and can be reached at 765-854-6739, or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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