By the time you read this, the first Rolls-Royce workers will be back on the factory floor in Goodwood, West Sussex, picking up the tools they downed when lockdown was announced.

In a neat piece of symmetry, it will be 117 years to the day the firm's founders, Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, first met in Manchester.

It's a triumph of sorts to be the first British car maker to get back to work - although with the threat from coronavirus as strong, if not stronger, than when they left, you can't imagine much bunting will fluttering.

What has changed in the intervening weeks is how much we understand about social distancing and how to enforce it. At Rolls-Royce, around only half the 2000-strong workforce will be allowed back, following strict guidelines.

Glimpses of just how strict - and thorough - regulations will be have come from other car makers, ramping up now around the globe and in the UK in the coming weeks.

Ford, for instance, has released its 65-pages (yes, you read that right) of documentation, while Bentley - whose production lines will start rolling from 11 May – says it will have 250 safeguarding measures in place, prompting boss Adrian Hallmark to declare that workers could be safer at work than they would be at home.

While we must wait to fully understand demand among mainstream car buyers, at the Rolls-Royce and Bentley end of the market, business looks to be robust. Bentley has been especially - and refreshingly - open about its order bank (eight months' worth), its refusal to reprioritise orders based on largest profit margins (a customer is a customer and deserves respect) and its ability to still work with ultra-high end Mulliner customers individually speccing cars, albeit via video link rather than in person.

The first job in Crewe will be to complete the 300 or so cars already part-assembled. While the majority of us in the UK are still restricted in our movements, it's worth noting that much of the world - and most notably China, long a lucrative destination for high-end goods - is already running at close to full speed. Just because hand-built cars take time to build, it doesn't mean that customers are patient.

However, perhaps most strikingly, Bentley insiders suggest that only around 3% of orders have been cancelled since the pandemic took grip. Given the economic turmoil unfolding and set to unfold, that's a remarkable testament to the net worth and patience of their customer base.