With UK car manufacturing grinding to a halt in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many firms have been announcing plans to restart production in the coming weeks and months.

But the first that’s set to return to full production is Rolls-Royce, with its factory in Goodwood, West Sussex, set to reopen on Monday May 4.

The luxury carmaker will bring back 1,000 workers, and will implement special precautions to maintain social distancing. The factory has been closed since March 23, and has been helping to produce PPE for the NHS – something it says will continue.

The phased production will initially see workers operating on a one-shift policy (rather than the usual two), which will mean the number of staff on the site near Chichester will be around half of that normally.

It will mean that production will restart of the model’s high-end models – including the Wraith coupe, Dawn convertible, Phantom saloon and Cullinan SUV. Demand for the brand’s models in China – one of its biggest markets – is said to be returning.

It puts Rolls-Royce as the first UK manufacturer to resume production. Jaguar Land Rover has said manufacturing will commence at its Solihull and Wolverhampton plants from May 18, while Nissan said yesterday that its Sunderland plant is unlikely to reopen until June.