Tyson’s will reopen its biggest pork plant after a Covid-19 outbreak

The Black Hawk County Health Department linked the Waterloo Tyson plant to 182 of the county's Covid-19 cases April 21. A week before, Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart requested that the Tyson plant be temporarily shut down.

Tuesday night, Tyson escaped statement announces the plant's planned reopening. Since closing the facility April 22, the company said it has sanitized the entire facility and installed "improved safety precautions and protective social distance measures" that meet or exceed standards set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

Going forward, Tyson said that health surveys will be performed for all employees at the facility when they come to work every day. These displays will include temperature controls and examinations for other Covid-19 symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath, the company said.

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All employees are now required to use "face coat", which the company said they provide. Employees who work in areas where workstation barriers could not be installed must use a face shield. Social distance monitors will be stationed throughout the facility to ensure that employees follow safety guidelines.

Tyson (TSN) said that all factory returned employees have been tested for Covid-19 and that factory employees who have not been tested will not be allowed to return to work. The company said that employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus will remain on sick leave until health officials say it's safe for them to return to work.

Tyson also said that it has doubled the bonus pay for front line workers and factory employees who cannot get to work due to problems with illness or child care related to Covid-19. They will continue to qualify for bonus pay as well.

"Our top priority is the health and safety of our team members, their loved ones and our communities," Tyson Waterloo plant manager Tom Hart said in a written statement.

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Mayor Hart and the Black Hawk County Health Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the reopening of the plant. Tyson said the mayor recently toured the revamped Waterloo facility with Black Hawk County sheriff Tony Thompson, local president of Food and Commercial Workers, Bob Waters and other business leaders in the community.

"I am pleased that Tyson is working to protect its employees and collaborate with community leaders for the benefit of all," said Mayor Hart in a written statement provided by Tyson.

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UFCW Association President Bob Waters also gave the plant's new security measure its stamp of approval.

"Tyson has gone above and beyond to keep its staff safe, and I support the reopening of the facility," Waters said.

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