MADRID (Reuters) – Carmaker SEAT plans to start up its plants in Spain on April 27, almost six weeks after it halted all output due to one of the world’s worst national outbreaks of the coronavirus, the Volkswagen <VOWG_p.DE> unit said on Friday.
Workers would return gradually as they production at its four sites near the eastern city of Barcelona resumes, allowing the company to keep implementing health and safety measures, a SEAT spokesman said.
“We need to observes rules like distance between workers and much more cleaning on the production lines, which won’t allow us to produce at the same rate,” the spokesman said. “We will go little by little until we get to the volume we had before.”
Spain has reported more than 180,000 cases of the coronavirus and more than 19,000 deaths, placing it in the top three worst-affected countries along with the United States and Italy.
Hundreds of thousands of jobs were destroyed by restrictions on movement put in place to curb the spread of the virus. Madrid started to relax those curbs gradually on Monday.
SEAT has presented a temporary layoff plan for its roughly 11,000 production staff which will allow them to start coming back to work at different times over the course of eight weeks.
(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Edmund Blair)