Meat megacorporation Tyson Foods has elected to shut down its pork plant in Waterloo Iowa, the company’s largest pork factory worldwide. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a large portion of the plant’s 2,800 workers has called out sick.
Though the plant will be closed for an indefinite period of time, Tyson will continue paying its employees as well as facilitating COVID-19 tests for employees not previously diagnosed.
“Despite our continued efforts to keep our people safe while fulfilling our critical role of feeding American families, the combination of worker absenteeism, COVID-19 cases and community concerns has resulted in our decision to stop production,” Tyson Fresh Meats group president Steve Stouffer said in a statement on Wednesday.
In the last few weeks leading up to the closure, meat shortages have become an increasing concern in America. Tyson’s Waterloo plant processes approximately 19,500 hogs per day, representing around 4 percent of the country’s pork processing.
Last week, Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart called for the factory’s shut down.
“This is the action we have been waiting for,” Hart said in a statement. “Tyson’s closing their plant will prove to be a positive step forward in preparing our community for the flattening the curve.”