MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's auto industry can exit the coronavirus lockdown before June 1 if companies have approved safety measures in place, the government said on Friday, seeking to set the record straight after sending out confusing signals on the matter.
Announced in the government's official gazette, the instructions should allow companies to reconnect key supply chains between Mexico and the rest of North America, which depends considerably on parts made south of the U.S. border.
The directive refers to manufacturers of transportation equipment, as well as the mining and construction industries, all of which the government have designated essential and from May 18 can begin establishing security protocols.
"If the process is concluded and approved before June 1, the relevant company or industry will be able to begin its operations," the government said, noting that companies which put workers' health at risk would be shut down.
On Wednesday, the government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador indicated the auto sector would start reopening on Monday and published advice to that effect in the gazette.
The government later withdrew that advice without clarifying unequivocally whether it would affect the restart dates. On Thursday, it published new instructions indicating the industry would not be allowed to reopen until June 1.