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Bentley to begin COVID-19 recovery with May 11 production re-start

Bentley Continental GT production line in Crewe

Bentley will restart production at its luxury car plant in Crewe on May 11, following the introduction of 250 new hygiene and social distancing measures.

The company described the changes made in the facility to ensure the safety of its workforce as the biggest in its 100-year history.

Adrian Hallmark, the chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, said: “Throughout this unprecedented crisis, the health and safety of our colleagues has, and will continue to be, paramount.

"These extensive new working measures will allow both our people and Bentley to come back stronger than ever and even more focussed.

“The time is now right for Bentley to begin a gradual and controlled return to production, while ensuring our sites are the safest place any of us can be.

"Everybody will be able to play their part to ensure we can continue Bentley’s extraordinary journey into the future of luxury, sustainable mobility.”

The measures are built around seven key areas – prior to leaving work, travel, entry, preparing for work, work stations, breaks, and exiting the site – and are designed to protect staff at the factory, which employs more than 4,000 people.

The key process changes impact all areas, and include a redesign of the manufacturing facility itself to allow a two-metre distance between work colleagues, and one-way movement paths and traffic flows.

Facemasks will now be compulsory in all factory and office areas, while Bentley will maintain a work from home policy for those who are able to.

Personal protection equipment – including facemasks, gloves, goggles - will be provided as necessary, both to colleagues and in parallel donated to the local care sector, as well as health temperature checks for staff.

There will also be an enhanced cleaning routine and clear guidance to the workforce on limiting the risk of infection on areas such as meeting governance, site access and travel.

The carmaker will also control the population density on site at any one time. All entry and exit points have been reviewed and reconfigured to disperse the volume of people on site.

Full production is anticipated to resume on May 18, with a later, staggered return to work for office-based colleagues and those able to work from home. 

Factory closures due to Coronavirus are estimated to have cost the UK car industry £8.2 billion, as UK car production declined 37.6% in March.  

Bentley says it will continue to provide support during the crisis by producing 30,000 face shields using 3D printing technology.

Jaguar Land Rover will also restart production in May, with its Solihull factory set to open on May 18.

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