Plans for Huntsville Toyota plant to reopen

Updated: Apr. 28, 2020 at 8:20 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Toyota engine plant in Huntsville is preparing to reopen following the governor’s updated guidelines.

Toyota officials invited local government leaders for a tour to see some of the changes the company has made to prepare for our new normal.

As of Tuesday, the plan is to reopen next Monday, May 4. When the 1,400 employees show up, they’ll each have to pass a health screening.

“Everything starts from the gates where we will be doing temperature checks but prior to that there is an online survey all of our team members will take," said Toyota president Dave Finch.

WAFF went on a tour with city and county leaders to see some of the drastic changes the company has made to improve safety from the coronavirus.

In the cafeteria there’s a divider at each table. They’re also between each of the microwaves. The same safety measures are also in place when the employees have to work down on the floor making engines.

Madison County Commissioner Dale Strong says not only is he impressed, he thinks other companies should follow Toyota’s lead.

“The separation is what everybody is looking for. You have plexiglass being utilized everywhere from where their brakes take place, to where they are putting together for six and eight cylinder engines,” said Strong.

The president of the Huntsville Madison County Chamber of Commerce was also impressed with the extra safeguards for employees.

"Took a lot of time and thought and energy that went into this I’m just really pleased with that and look forward to the facility getting back to production again,” said Chip Cherry.

Although a lot of people in the Tennessee Valley earn their paychecks working at the Toyota engine plant, their shifts will be staggered.

“We are really making sure that we allow the team members to return to work safely and into work without any congestion,” said Finch.

During the past several weeks during the coronavirus pandemic, some of the employees at the Toyota engine plant have been busy making thousands of face shields for first responders.

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