Some 80,000 workers in Romania’s car industry returned to production lines on Tuesday after factories were closed for month due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ziarul Financiar reported.
The general secretary of the Association of Automobile Producers in Romania, Adrian Sandu, said just over one-third of the industry’s 230,000 were back at work on Tuesday following the closure.
He forecast that 80% would be back at their jobs by the end of May, in comments made to Ziarul Financiar.
The pandemic has badly dented economies worldwide. More than one million job contracts have been suspended in Romania, with the government covering some costs.
In order for Romania’s automobile industry to recover, car showrooms in Western Europe need to re-open, Ziarul Financiar reported.
Employees at Renault Dacia, Romania’s biggest automobile manufacturer, returned after the Easter break to resume the production of car parts.
The production of automobiles will restart at the factory in the southern town of Mioveni on May 4.
Managers have notified its 14,000 employees that new rules will be implemented to minimize the risk of contamination with the virus.
Automobile Dacia, which is a unit of French auto group Renault, suspended operations on March 19, shortly after President Klaus Iohannis decreed a state of emergency as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the country.
Dacia employees were furloughed, and received 85% of their base wages.
U.S. car manufacturer Ford which has 6,000 employees at its plant in the southern city of Craiova also suspended operations on March 19 and is expected to also resume production at the beginning of May.
Throughout Europe carmakers have suspended their operations.