Key Mexican state for VW, Audi hits brakes on restart

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MEXICO CITY — The Mexican state of Puebla said on Friday that conditions “do not exist” yet to re-start activities in its automotive industry due to the coronavirus pandemic, putting the brakes on carmakers rebooting their operations there.

Volkswagen Group and its Audi unit have major plants in the state southeast of Mexico City, but they have idled production due to the pandemic.

In an official decree issued on Friday night, the Puebla state government said its decision, which also applies to the local construction industry, would remain in place until sanitary and safety conditions permitted a restart.

“The worst is still to come, the wave of infections and the health risk is everywhere,” Puebla governor Miguel Barbosa said in the decree, after a week in which new coronavirus infections and death tallies hit record daily totals in Mexico.

Barbosa, an ally of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said he wanted to reopen the state’s economy “but not at the cost of the lives of the people of Puebla.”

Mexico’s government issued guidelines on Monday for restarting operations in carmaking, mining and construction even as the impact of the pandemic intensified.

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