LEX 18 Exclusive: TMMK implementing new safety protocol ahead of re-opening

Posted at 7:30 PM, May 05, 2020

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Toyota plant in Scott County will re-open in less than a week with at least 100 new safety protocols in place.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky has been shut down for seven weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday TMMK President Susan Elkington gave LEX 18 an exclusive look at some of the new safety procedures which include screenings and temperature checks at the door. Elkington demonstrated how they will use thermal imaging to take temperatures.

"You come up, it takes one second, you look at the camera to take your temperature," Elkington explained.

She says any employee with a temperature 100.4 or higher will be sent home. When team members return May 11 it will be a gradual process. Elkington wants people to get used to wearing masks and working at least six feet apart when able. Managers have also set new boundaries outlined with bright tape to help with social distancing. Like grocery stories, arrows direct one-way floor traffic in the plant and offices.

When asked how long the new protocols could be in place, Elkington didn't hesitate.

"This new normal will be necessary on some format at least until the end of the year," Elkington said.

She said despite the shutdown, Toyota sales numbers have done better than what was forecasted for the month of April.

"Our sales were down about 55 percent from last year. That sounds awful, but we were forecasting maybe closer to 70 percent, so that's a positive," Elkington noted.

She estimates the nine million square foot plant will be up to normal production by late summer or fall. For now, personal health and safety is the priority.

"These protocols will help prevent the spread at work, so if we can be consistent and ensure the way we follow these every single day, every single minute we're here, we can stop the spread," Elkington said.