Following the closures of a number of meat processing plants, threatening meat shortages nationwide, President Trump has announced plans to force those plants to remain in operation despite the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In an official announcement on Tuesday, Pres. Trump stated he would attempt to shield meat companies from potential legal liabilities from staying open during the pandemic.
According to the announcement, Trump plans to declare meat plants as critical infrastructure by citing the Defense Production Act to justify the order. The order, which could be signed as early as Tuesday, is rumored to cover other industrial food processing plants as well.
In the announcement, Trump specifically named Tyson Foods as a company that he would attempt to shield from legal liability concerning employees that may contract COVID-19 while working at Tyson plants.
Last Wednesday, Tyson Foods, one of the largest meat companies in the US, elected to shut down its largest pork processing plant in the country. The plant, based in Waterloo, Iowa, had had many of its employees call out sick, leading to the company’s decision.