NORMAL (WEEK) - There are signs of life at Rivian Automotive's electric car plant in Normal, which has been closed since March to slow the spread of COVID-19.
A company spokesperson confirmed late Tuesday night that Rivian's first group of "critical workers" returned to the plant in mid-May, and a second group of workers are scheduled to come back next week.
The company is providing returning workers with personal protective equipment (PPE), according to the spokesperson.
The pandemic's economic impact has altered Rivian's plans, delaying production of its pickup truck and sport utility vehicle until sometime in 2021, instead of later this year.
Also, the economic fallout prompted Ford Motor Company's luxury vehicle division to cancel the deal to produce a Lincoln-brand electric vehicle at the factory in Normal.
About 335 people are currently employed at the local plant, which is well above hiring levels required for Rivian to receive tax breaks from local governments.
At peak production, Rivian's local workforce is expect to reach 1,000 employees.