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Tyson Restarts Iowa Pork Plant after COVID-19 Shutdown

April 21, 2020

4 Min Read
Tyson Restarts Iowa Pork Plant after COVID-19 Shutdown

Tyson Fresh Meats plans to restart some of its operations at its Columbus Junction, IA pork plant this week following a two-week shutdown. The company temporarily closed the site after dozens of workers became infected with COVID-19.

“Our first priority is protecting our team members while they fulfill their critical mission of feeding families across the country during this challenging time,” Tyson Foods President Dean Banks said in a company press release Monday. “We plan to increase production at Columbus Junction gradually, with the safety of our team members top of mind.”

The plant was closed on April 6 after an initial group of 24 workers tested positive for the virus. 148 COVID-19 cases were linked to the Columbus Junction plant as of April 15, Louisa County Public Health told ABC News affiliate KCRG. Powder & Bulk Solids reported on April 16 that two workers from the Columbus Junction plant have died as a result of COVID-19 infections.

Tyson said in the release that it has enacted a range of safety measures to protect its workers from the novel coronavirus, including the use of face coverings in all of its facilities, checks of workers’ temperatures before entering buildings, additional breakroom space, and the installation of workstation dividers in some of its facilities.

Other plants across Tyson’s production network are also grappling with pandemic-related challenges. 

“Tyson Foods’ other meat and poultry plants continue operations, with some running at reduced levels of production either due to the planned implantation of additional worker precautions or worker absenteeism,” the release said. “The company has suspended production for a day at some locations for additional deep cleaning and sanitation.”

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