Tyson Foods is suspending production at a beef plant in Nebraska for intensive cleaning, the latest meat processing facility to close in America because of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus from China.
Tyson will pause operations at the Dakota City plant on May 1 through May 4 “to complete a deep cleaning of the entire plant,” according to a statement from the Arkansas-based company.
Tyson said it’s been working closely with the local health department and will start to screen workers at the plant with help from the Nebraska National Guard.
The plant normally employs 4,300 and produces enough beef each day to feed millions of people. As more and more workers skip work, the company has scaled back production.
“We have a dedicated health and safety team working with local, state and federal health officials and our facility operations team to make timely decisions about operations,” Shane Miller, senior vice president and general manager beef enterprise at Tyson Fresh Meats, said in a statement. “Our decisions on resuming operations during this challenging time will continue to be based on team member safety.”
Tyson has also idled pork facilities in Iowa and Indiana and a beef facility in Washington state as workers undergo screening and plants are deep cleaned.
The company’s other meat plants continue to operate but some are running at reduced levels of production.
Capacity across the United States to produce meat has dropped in recent weeks as giant processing companies like Tyson close plants due to CCP virus infections or fear of outbreaks.
Smithfield Foods closed its mammoth plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., on April 12 after hundreds of workers tested positive for the new virus. State and local officials had urged the company to suspend operations for two weeks to disinfect the plant, which employs about 3,700 people.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he planned to sign an executive order compelling meat processing plants to stay open.
Some have said meat processing companies aren’t doing enough to protect workers from the virus.
A lawsuit against Smithfield filed last week alleged the company refused to give employees time to wash their hands and discouraged taking sick leave. Virginia-based Smithfield said the complaint lacked merit.