The company is planning to return to work from May 11.

Cheshire-based luxury car maker Bentley will begin a “phased” return to work from May 11 with “robust safety measures” in place. It comes as other manufacturers in the Volkswagen Group, including Skoda and Audi, are also ramping up production despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the return to production, Bentley is introducing a set of around 250 “comprehensive and wide-ranging” new hygiene and social distancing measures to ensure workers are as safe as possible. These include a redesign of the Crewe manufacturing facility itself, creating a two-metre distance between work colleagues and one-way movement paths and traffic flows.

The company recently announced it would distribute personal protection equipment – including face masks - to the care sector in Cheshire, but the company has also said it will provide similar equipment to colleagues where necessary, as well as introducing health temperature checks for staff. The factory will also adopt an “enhanced” cleaning routine and the company will issue clear guidance to the workforce on limiting the risk of infection on areas such as meeting governance, site access and travel.

Bentley coronavirus factory restart

To do this, the firm has sent a return to work guide, which covers all new hygiene and social distancing measures, to the home addresses of staff and the guidance is also being made available to review on the Bentley Employee News app. There, staff can watch an “airline-style” instructional video that outlines the key changes to working patterns.

At the same time, Bentley says it is introducing measures to control the population density on site at any one time. Entry and exit points have been reviewed and reconfigured to disperse people, there will be control in catering facilities to limit capacity and allocated distanced seating. For those in office-based roles, a newly introduced shift-pattern will control the number of staff on site throughout the day, and plastic separation screens are being fitted in office areas.

Bentley has offered a rare glimpse into its metrology team at its factory in Crewe.

Adrian Hallmark, chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, said: “Throughout this unprecedented crisis, the health and safety of our colleagues has, and will continue to be, paramount. These extensive new working measures will allow both our people and Bentley to come back stronger than ever and even more focussed.

“The time is now right for Bentley to begin a gradual and controlled return to production, while ensuring our sites are the safest place any of us can be. Everybody will be able to play their part to ensure we can continue Bentley’s extraordinary journey into the future of luxury, sustainable mobility.”

Bentley Flying Spur production gets underway in Crewe