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Trump may have to wear a mask in visit to Ford plant

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President Trump may be required to wear a mask during his upcoming trip this week to a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, although he has so far declined to wear a mask in public appearances despite the guidelines by his own government in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesperson for Ford Motor Company told CBS News that company policy requires all visitors to wear personal protective equipment (PPE).

"Our policy is that everyone wears PPE to prevent the spread of COVID-19," Ford spokesperson Rachel McCleery said. "We shared all of Ford's safety protocols, including our manufacturing playbook, employee pamphlet and self-assessment survey with the White House ahead of time and in preparation for this trip."

In a second statement to CBS News, Ford indicated that Mr. Trump would follow his own judgment, saying: "As we have said previously, we shared our safety policies and recommendations with the White House in advance of this visit. The White House has its own safety and testing policies in place and will make its own determination."

Mr. Trump is expected to visit the Rawsonville Components Plant on Thursday. The White House did not say whether the president will wear a mask, but the president said he'll make that determination based on how close people are to him. 

"I don't know. I haven't even thought of it. It depends," the president said, asked if he would wear a mask Thursday. "Certain areas I would, certain areas I don't. I will certainly look at it. It depends on what situation - am I standing right next to everybody or am I spread out? And also, you look, you know - is it a hospital, is it a ward, what is it exactly? I'm going to a plant so we'll see. Where it's appropriate I would do it, certainly."

The president has largely declined to wear masks during White House events, even as several officials within the White House have tested positive for the virus.

When Mr. Trump visited the Honeywell facility in Arizona earlier this month where N95 masks are being produced, he was not seen wearing a mask. He told reporters on Wednesday that he had worn a mask at one point. Asked how long he wore the mask, Mr. Trump replied, "Not too long."

Mr. Trump also visited an Allentown, Pennsylvania, mask distribution center last week, where he did not appear to be wearing a mask. Many of his staff on the trip and company officials wore masks. 

Mr. Trump has said that he does not believe it would be appropriate for him to wear a mask while "sitting in the Oval Office, behind that beautiful Resolute Desk," saying "I don't see it for myself."

Vice President Mike Pence was criticized for not wearing a mask during a visit to the Mayo Clinic earlier this month. Two days later, he donned a mask while visiting a General Motors plant in his home state of Indiana.

Pence later acknowledged in a Fox News virtual town hall that he "should have worn the mask at the Mayo Clinic."

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that Americans wear masks in public and observe quarantines when they come into contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Kathryn Watson and Costanza Maio contributed to this report.

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