Greeley JBS Plant Shuts Down
Meatpacker JBS has closed its Greeley beef production facility until April 24th. The shut-down follows the death of two workers from COVID-19 and positive tests for the coronavirus in four dozen more workers.
Terry Frankhauser, Executive Vice President of The Colorado Cattlemen's Association says preventative measures were in place to social distance and slow the line speeds. But plant workers live and work together in close proximity.
Frankhauser: “ Ultimately, the decision was made to close the plant for two weeks and continue testing and quarantining people if they show signs of high fever or test positive and really try to give some time to develop a plan for how the issue of managing these close proximity plants is going to occur in the future. Is that testing individuals, keeping the healthy people sequestered in a place so you can have a clean bill of health in the plant? What are those solutions? So that’s what the work is at this point.”
JBS has purchased 1,000 COVID-19 test kits for low-income and uninsured Weld County residents.
The plant’s 6000 workers are being told to self quarantine.
Frankhauser says the Cattlemen’s Association, the Colorado Beef Association and the Colorado LIvestock Association are meeting remotely to discuss future steps. The shutdown is just in one plant so far but 150 workers at the Cargill plant near Fort Morgan are under quarantine and six have tested positive for COVID-19.
Supply is not a concern yet but, there are growing concerns on feedlots about delays in harvest dates.