India’s recent COVID-19 surge has hit the southern state of Tamil Nadu particularly hard. On May 12, 2021, officials reported 30,355 new COVID-19 infections and 293 deaths. In response, Royal Enfield shut down its manufacturing plants on May 13-15, 2021, to stem the infection rate and safeguard employees.
Now, an internal memo reveals that the brand will take similar actions between May 27-29, 2021 as Tamil Nadu continues to battle the second wave of coronavirus. Royal Enfield’s three factories in Thiruvottiyur, Oragadam, and Vallam Vadagal will observe the shutdown and resume operations on May 31, 2021.
Tamil Nadu officials announced an extension to the state’s current lockdown status on May 22, 2021. To comply with the stricter measures imposed by the government, Royal Enfield’s latest production halt specifically is aimed at curbing numbers in the bustling city of Chennai.
The company used the mid-May lockdown to conduct maintenance across its three facilities. However, Royal Enfield hasn’t announced whether it will leverage the upcoming closures for similar measures.
"We will resume operation from Monday, 31st May," read an internal note signed by Royal Enfield Chief Operating Officer Govindarajan Balakrishnan. "The above days shall be compensated later as per market needs."
The Indian motorcycle maker isn’t alone in this fight either. Hyundai Motor India also ceased operations at its Chennai plant for a five-day closure starting May 25, 2021. That same day, Tamil Nadu recorded its deadliest day on record with 468 deaths and 34,285 new cases.
While India’s infection rate has steadily decreased since May 8, 2021, the southern state’s numbers continue to rise. Many locals refer to Chennai as “India’s Detroit” and a large portion of the city’s population is a part of the manufacturing workforce. Hopefully, the efforts of automakers and motorcycle brands like Royal Enfield will help Tamil Nadu officials get the situation under control.
Sources: Reuters, First Post, Times of India (1), (2)