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Kawasaki to reopen Lincoln plant Monday
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Kawasaki to reopen Lincoln plant Monday

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Cargo door

A Kawasaki employee works on part of a cargo door for a Boeing 777X in 2018 at the company's plant in Lincoln. The company said it will restart aerospace and rail car production Monday, four weeks after it shut down due to the coronavirus.

Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing said Wednesday that it will resume production at its northwest Lincoln plant next week.

Starting Monday, the rail car and aerospace divisions will resume work. The consumer products division, which makes Jet Skis, ATVs and utility vehicles, will not restart production until May 4.

Jason Hellbusch, Kawasaki's director of administration, said in a news release that while the company takes the safety of employees and their families seriously, "We also have a responsibility to provide our employees with good, steady jobs, which requires that Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. be financially strong."

"This means getting back to work and making great Kawasaki products as soon as possible, while maintaining a safe working environment," he said.

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Kawasaki, which has about 2,000 employees in Lincoln, suspended production at the plant March 30 because of the coronavirus pandemic, originally saying it planned to be closed for two weeks.

Hellbusch said management has created a detailed safety plan to ensure a safe work environment for employees when they return. Among the changes the company is instituting are providing face coverings and requiring employees to wear them, making time clocks touchless and monitoring employees for fever.

"We are confident we are following all necessary protocols and providing the safest possible work environment for our employees," Hellbusch said.

"However, if any employees are not comfortable with returning to work at this time, we will be providing multiple leave options to get through this situation."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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