Tyre manufacturer Bridgestone is re-opening its European plants from today (20 April 2020).

The move comes as Italy and Spain take measures to ease their COVID-19 lockdowns.

The firm’s manufacturing plants in Bari in Italy and Lanklaar in Belgium opened today, whilst the Béthune plant in France will reopen tomorrow.

The re-opening of the plants follows the relaunch of production at all Bridgestone’s Spanish plants in Burgos, Bilbao and Puente San Miguel, and at its Russian plant in Ulyanovsk on 14 April. The manufacturer’s Indian and South African plants have yet to reopen.

In a statement Bridgestone said it had taken the decision to open the plants “to ensure adequate supply” in response to rising demand for its tyres. The move comes as Italy and Spain take measures to ease their pandemic lockdowns.

The company added: “The COVID-19 situation remains severe nonetheless, which is why the health and safety of Bridgestone employees at the reopened plants remains the key priority.

“Bridgestone continues to strictly follow the guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and government regulations in the countries in which it operates.

“In addition, the business has implemented thorough procedures and checklists in accordance with its protocols for the prevention of occupational hazards to ensure social distancing and adequate protection of its workforce."

The manufacturer said it will also continue to monitor “both the ongoing health situation and the fluctuation in demand for its products very closely during this time".