By on April 3, 2020

The novel coronavirus pandemic took hold in Europe before invading the U.S., which is why anyone hoping for a quick restart of the domestic manufacturing sector might want to forget about the month of April.

On Friday, Ford said its European assembly operations will remain offline until at least the first week of May.

Only slightly ahead of its North American home base, Ford’s European arm announced the shutdown of production facilities on March 17th, with the plants in Spain, Germany, and Romania going dark on March 19th. The automaker’s UK plants turned out the lights on March 23rd.

While the shutdown’s end point remains hazy, the early sense was that idled plants would come back online after a few weeks or so. This sentiment was especially true in the U.S., where Ford just kiboshed a plan to return workers to “key” Mexican and American plants on April 6th and 14th, respectively.

“It’s important we give our employees as much clarity as possible on how long the present situation is likely to continue,” Ford of Europe President Stuart Rowley said in a statement.  “We are hopeful the situation will improve in the coming month; our plans to restart operations, however, will continue to be informed by prevailing conditions and guidance of national governments.”

The automaker said a return to production depends “heavily on the pandemic situation in the weeks ahead, national restrictions in operation at the time, supplier constraints and the ability of our dealer network to operate.”

Whenever the company’s plants come back online, they will do so with physical distancing and other safety measures in place, as no one expects the coronavirus threat to drain from society overnight.

[Image: Ford]

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