TOKYO — Bridgestone Corp. has resumed production at several of its plants across the world, including tire factories in Spain and Russia that were idled weeks ago amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plants back in full operation are in Burgos, Bilbao and Puente San Miguel, Spain, and Ulyanovsk, Russia. Bridgestone scaled these and a few others back on March 23 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, the tire maker said a tire factory in Bari, Italy, and retreading plant in Lanklaar, Belgium, are scheduled to restart later this month, while factories in India, South Africa and France will remain closed for the time being.
Bridgestone's plants in Poznan and Stargard, Poland, and Tatabanya, Hungary, remain operational but are running at reduced capacity because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bridgestone said. .
Last week, Bridgestone Americas Inc. announced plans to restart on April 13 its North American commercial tire plants as well as its North American Firestone Industrial Products and Firestone Building Products factories.
Bridgestone suspended production at its factories in North America and Latin America on March 21. At the time, the tire maker said it planned to resume normal operations during the third week of April.
According to Bridgestone, restarting production at at plants in Russia and Spain "reflect the demand trend seen in several of Bridgestone Europe, Middle East, India and Africa market segments, including original equipment passenger tires and the commercial sector — which has been less severely affected by the economic downturn."
Bridgestone said its Europe/Middle East/India/Africa unit continues to work closely with customers and suppliers to ensure adequate supply, while monitoring fluctuation in demand closely.
The most important priority, Bridgestone said, is the health and safety of employees, and the company said it continues to take "the appropriate preventive measures" to adhere to its standards for the prevention of occupational hazards.
The company said it is "strictly following the guidance and recommendations of the health authorities to ensure social distancing and adequate protection of its workforce."
The company also said it has "thorough procedures and checklists" in place to ensure safety for its workers before resuming or expanding activities.
Bridgestone said the company continues to monitor the situation closely and follow guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), as well as government regulations in countries where it operates.