SPRING HILL, TN—General Motors plans to reopen its Spring Hill assembly plant in stages this month following the extended shutdown caused by spreading coronavirus.

Starting May 11, workers began returning to the facility for the first time since it shut down March 20 in an effort to prevent the virus’ spread.

UAW Local 1835 Chairman Mike Herron said Friday morning that the Spring Hill plant will follow the same precautions that have led to successful restarts at GM’s facilities in Kokomo, IN, and Warren, MI.

“We feel confident that our approach will keep us all safe,” Herron says.

The local workers were laid off in the shutdown, joining the more than 46,000 who have filed for unemployment in southern Middle Tennessee since the virus took hold of the state in March.

Workers at the Spring Hill plant will make a staggered return to work in the coming weeks starting on Monday, when first-shift team members and skilled trades employees working in vehicle assembly will return to begin cleaning and preparing for production.

“Our procedures have been reviewed by the UAW and outside experts and they meet or exceed CDC guidelines,” Herron says.

A week later, on May 18, additional workers will return to the plant’s stamping, body, paint and other departments.

The plant’s first shift is tentatively scheduled to begin production of new vehicles on May 27. The plant’s second shift is planned to begin work assembling vehicles on Monday, June 1. A start date for third shift workers has yet to be announced.