Coronavirus COVID-19 Automotive News Getting Back to Work: Tesla, FCA, Enterprise & Cleaning Protocols

In Coronavirus, COVID-19 getting back to work are Tesla, FCA and Enterprise while RideKleen is expanding its disinfection services.

In the midst of controversy and contrary to the county of Alameda’s mandates Elon Musk Tweeted that the Tesla Fremont factory re-opened today. Musk also initiated a law suit against the county. Employee’s cars were seen in the parking lots. Musk threatened to move the plant out of California then Tweeted that Telsa will move its HQ to Texas/Nevada which he deleted.

Here’s the statement from the Alameda County Health Department

Today, May 11, we learned that the Tesla factory in Fremont had opened beyond Minimum Basic Operations. We have notified Tesla that they can only maintain Minimum Basic Operations until we have an approved plan that can be implemented in accordance with the local public health Order. We are addressing this matter using the same phased approach we use for other businesses which have violated the Order in the past, and we hope that Tesla will likewise comply without further enforcement measures.

Since April 30,  we have continued to collaborate in good faith with Tesla to present a plan for reopening the Fremont plant that ensures the safety of their thousands of employees and the communities in which they live and work, and that also aligns with local and state requirements. We continue to move closer to an agreed upon safety plan for reopening beyond Minimum Basic Operations by working through steps that Tesla has agreed to adopt. These steps include improving employee health screening procedures and engaging front-line staff on their concerns and feedback regarding safety protocols.

We are actively communicating our feedback and understand Tesla will submit a site-specific plan later today as required under the State of California guidance and checklist for manufacturing issued on May 7.  We look forward to reviewing Tesla’s plan and coming to agreement on protocol and a timeline to reopen safely.

We do not have any further comment and will not be taking any requests for interviews.

Tesla outlined details with a blog post:

How We’ve Worked with the County
Contrary to the Governor’s recent guidance and support from the City of Fremont, Alameda County is insisting we should not resume operations. This is not for lack of trying or transparency since we have met with and collaborated on our restart plans with the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. Unfortunately, the County Public Health Officer who is making these decisions has not returned our calls or emails.

The list below is just some of the information we’ve shared with city and county officials:

  1. Detailed health and safety restart plan with checklist and photos
  2. Employee health and safety guidelines
  3. Risk assessment process, including what we’ve done throughout the factory
  4. Risk assessment improvements, including how we’ve identified and addressed high/medium/low risks
  5. Temperature screening protocol plus a commitment to add temperature screening when we resume long-distance shuttle routes
  6. Revised Fremont production restart plan
  7. Factory layout with square footage to illustrate on how people are spread out across our 6 million square foot facility
  8. Break room capacities (reduced for social distancing) and numbers of people in each room based on work area

We will continue to put people back to work in a safe and responsible manner. However, the County’s position left us no choice but to take legal action to ensure that Tesla and its employees can get back to work. We filed a lawsuit on May 9 asking the court to invalidate the County Orders, to the extent the County claims they prevent Tesla from resuming operations.

Read Tesla’s entire Back to Work Playbook.

FCA Shares It’s Cleaning Protocols

As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) prepares to resume its North American manufacturing operations, the Company has developed and is implementing a comprehensive program of enhanced safety measures to protect employees, their families and the surrounding communities from the spread and transmission of COVID-19 when the plants reopen.

“Above everything else, our top priority has always been to do what is right for our employees,” Mike Manley, FCA CEO, said. “We have worked closely with the unions to establish protocols that will ensure our employees feel safe at work and that every step possible has been taken to protect them.

“We have drawn on our collective global expertise and best practices to rethink our production processes to put in place comprehensive protocols to keep our workforce safe,” Manley said. “There is no question that coming to work will look and feel different. I have now visited several of our Detroit-area facilities, met with our teams and walked the floor. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of our colleagues who have done an incredible job putting in place safety protocols to protect our people. Thank you all.”

Since closing its plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico on March 18, FCA has been working to put in place best practices that have enabled the restart of operations at its facilities in China and Italy. Aligned with World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommendations, these robust protocols, along with the actions employees will be required to take to safeguard themselves and others, were communicated as part of a Return to Work package mailed to nearly 47,000 U.S. and Canadian represented employees. Mexico will share the same information through in-person training.

FCA is implementing layers of protection to combat the spread and transmission of COVID-19. This includes cleaning, disinfecting and social distancing, but most importantly, ensuring the wellness of everyone entering an FCA facility. With that in mind, the Company will require its employees, as well as all visitors, to complete a Daily Health Risk Assessment, which consists of:

  • Taking their temperature less than two hours before reporting to work or visiting the site with either a Company-provided temperature strip or personal thermometer
  • Completing a self-screening questionnaire and turning it in upon entry

As an added measure of safety, the Company is installing thermal imaging cameras to verify what employees and visitors have self-reported.

Consistent with the direction of governmental agencies, employees will be required to wear Company-provided masks and safety glasses at all times when in the facility. Employees will also be asked to wear gloves and safety glasses when applying or cleaning with disinfectant spray. Visitors and contractors to any FCA facility will be required to provide their own personal protection equipment for entry.

During the production pause, FCA completed a significant number of cleaning and social distancing activities to prepare its facilities for when operations resume. These include:

  • Cleaning and Disinfecting:
    • More than 57 million square feet of manufacturing floor space cleaned and disinfected
    • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting schedules developed for common and high traffic areas, including turnstiles, restrooms, cafeterias, locker rooms and conference rooms
    • 135 hand-held foggers distributed for more efficient cleaning of these areas
    • Provided cleaning supplies at all workstations so surfaces can be cleaned and disinfected
    • Installed more than 2,000 hand sanitizer stations across all facilities
    • Daily audits to be conducted to ensure new standards are followed
  • Social Distancing:
    • More than 17,000 workstations analyzed and evaluated for adherence to six-foot social distancing guidelines
    • More than 4,700 job areas and workstations redesigned or protective barriers installed to allow for more social distancing
    • Installed plexiglass partitions and created visual management guides for social distancing in break areas and cafeterias, as well as throughout all buildings
    • Staggered start times and added time to breaks and lunch to minimize large gatherings
    • Suspended meetings of more than eight employees at a time and transitioned to virtual meetings, wherever possible
    • Put new approval protocols in place for facility visitors

Upon the restart of production, FCA is adopting a new level of daily cleaning and disinfecting, in accordance with WHO, CDC and OSHA recommendations, at all manufacturing locations in order to maintain the enhanced levels of cleanliness and sanitation. In addition to increasing the number of times per shift that high-traffic, high-use areas, as well as common touchpoints, are cleaned and disinfected, 10 minutes per shift will be dedicated to cleaning and disinfecting employee workstations.

Signage promoting the themes of health and safety have been posted throughout all facilities to remind employees and visitors of proper protocols related to cleaning, social distancing, required personal protection equipment and handwashing or sanitizing. Employees also will participate in small-group training sessions on the new policies and procedures as part of their first-day activities.

FCA will continue to monitor and audit conditions at all facilities, as well as the latest information on COVID-19 from federal and state agencies, to implement new safeguards and procedures as needed.

Enterprise Cleaning Pledged

Complete Clean Pledge

As part of the Complete Clean Pledge, Enterprise Holdings expanded and is relaunching its cleaning protocols. Employees are being trained to implement the new and more comprehensive cleaning mandates for their protection, and for the safety and service of customers. These mandates include enhanced cleaning guidance for vehicles, shuttles and branch locations, as well as social distancing practices.

In addition to new signage throughout rental locations and lots indicating updated rental processes, customers will soon begin seeing Complete Clean Pledge notifications within their rented vehicles confirming they have been thoroughly cleaned. This includes washing, vacuuming, general wipe down and sanitizing with a disinfectant that meets leading health authority requirements, with particular attention to more than 20 high-touch points.

The cleaning guidance set forth in the Complete Clean Pledge is also aligned with the U.S. Travel Association’s (USTA) “Travel in the New Normal” guidance introduced last week. Taylor sits on the USTA’s CEO board, and, as an industry leader, Enterprise Holdings is an active member of USTA. The company worked collaboratively on the guidance in partnership with other travel and tourism companies and organizations. Letters signed by industry travel associations, including the American Car Rental Association (ACRA), have been sent to the White House and U.S. state governors endorsing the USTA guidance.

Innovative Rental Process Enhancements

In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, Enterprise modified its services to protect customers and employees while remaining open to meet critical transportation and personal mobility needs as an essential service provider. These offerings include curbside rental transactions, as well as delivery at some locations, to help best serve customers while minimizing foot traffic in locations.

“Recognizing that social distancing and minimal contact will remain important safety measures for many customers, Enterprise Holdings is refining our current modified offerings to move toward implementing more permanent low- and no-touch experiences for our customers,” added Taylor.

Enterprise Holdings’ brands will accelerate efforts to offer new rental experiences including introducing new options such as: advanced check-in at Enterprise’s neighborhood locations, “show your pass and go,” and enhanced curbside and delivery options. Beyond that, the company will continue to roll out updated processes and safety procedures for its rental operations, as well as its other lines of business.

Cox Auto’s RideKleen Disinfection for All Types of Customers

Committed to keeping vehicles and people as safe and healthy as possible, Cox Automotive Mobility brand RideKleen is introducing a vehicle hygiene product solution and service, PureProtect by RideKleen, providing vehicle disinfection and air cleanse protection for fleet owners and operators, riders and drivers. This new offering is available in all RideKleen markets, including major cities and transportation hubs such as Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Francisco. In addition, the leader in eco-conscious mobile vehicle care and fleet services is empowering its customers with do-it-yourself offerings, including high-volume enterprise solutions and individual vehicle kits featuring the trusted products, supplies and training to more safely disinfect and protect vehicles on their own.

“As we work as a society to solve the issues impacting health and environment, RideKleen’s greater purpose is to deliver long-term solutions to more sustainable vehicle hygiene,” said Pratik Patel, president of RideKleen. “We’re redefining what it means to be clean, laying the necessary groundwork with our revolutionary PureProtect by RideKleen solution to bring confidence to everyone, every time they get in a vehicle.”

Protection Proven to Last
PureProtect by RideKleen kits feature an eco-conscious cleaner from Caring Brands that sanitizes, disinfects and protects the entire vehicle, including the interior cabin, A/C ventilation system, trunk and cargo areas. This EPA-registered and approved antimicrobial cleaner that is food safe and made in the United States is approved for use on hard and soft surfaces and kills up to 99.9% of germs, bacteria, mold, mildew and emerging viruses. Moreover, unlike most solutions offering temporary protection, PureProtect by RideKleen provides an ongoing residual effect to inhibit the growth of harmful odor causing germs, mold and mildew for up to 30 days post-treatment – keeping vehicles protected for an extended period of time.

PureProtect by RideKleen kits and service are being utilized at Cox Automotive Mobility’s Pivet facilities in Atlanta and Phoenix, as well as at Manheim locations nationwide. Complimentary sanitization services are also being performed for first responders in Philadelphia and Atlanta, including the Upper Southampton Township Police Department and DeKalb County Police Department, respectively. In addition, RideKleen will begin rolling out PureProtect by RideKleen services in partnership with dealers using Clutch Technologies’ Retail Delivery & Service Pickup and Delivery software to help enable safe, touchless retail and service experiences.

Winning Customer Trust
To help curb the spread of bacteria and emerging viruses in vehicles, RideKleen is offering enterprise and out-of-the-box disinfection solutions for dealers, rideshare providers, fleet operators, parking operators and even consumers, to safely disinfect vehicles.

With PureProtect by RideKleen products – both single vehicle kits and high-volume product options – providers can offer peace of mind to drivers and riders with a turnkey vehicle sanitization and disinfection solution. For dealers, this will provide assurance to the 83% of consumers, who say it’s extremely or very important to disinfect vehicle surfaces after a service appointment or test drive, according to the 2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Consumer & Impact Study. In another recent survey from Cox Automotive, dealers also said they are more likely to use these disinfection products if they are offered as a do-it-yourself solution rather than a full-service product. PureProtect by RideKleen providers will now have the flexibility to sanitize and disinfect vehicles where it’s most convenient for their customers – in a home driveway, office park or other desired location. This allows for RideKleen customers to further differentiate their offering with vehicle disinfection at the final point of delivery.

  • PureProtect by RideKleen Single Vehicle Kits – Sanitize and disinfect a vehicle in 10 minutes or less. This do-it-yourself kit includes a cleaner & disinfectant bottle, microfiber cloth, pair of disposable latex-free gloves, face mask, disposable hand sanitizer wipe, rearview mirror hangtag to signal completed disinfection, and instructional card with access to additional training materials.
  • PureProtect by RideKleen Enterprise Product Solutions – Customized solutions for high-volume operations include drop shipment of (1) gallon, (5) gallon and (55) gallon containers along with atomizer or fogger applicators directly to customers. This is an ideal offering for servicing vehicle fleets small and large and includes training support from the RideKleen team.

To help dealers and other providers promote their PureProtect by RideKleen services and further build consumer confidence, RideKleen has created a digital marketing toolbox, which includes educational brochures and collateral, exterior signage, and various website creative elements.

“The truth is vehicles have always been vectors for germs with more than 700 different strains of bacteria living in a car,” said Dr. Rikin Patel, chief operating officer of RideKleen. “With a higher priority on consumer safety and health, contactless transactions have become the new normal for many of the things we purchase. The time is now for the auto industry to prioritize vehicle hygiene standards.”

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