Tyson Foods is closing its largest pork plant as a growing number of workers become ill from coronavirus infections. Its closure could lead to a significant disruption of the nation’s pork supply chain. On the other hand, Congress is pushing for more aid to help states combating the virus and expand testing.
What We Know:
- The plant, located in Waterloo, Iowa, had already slowed production because many of its 2,800 workers had been calling out sick. The Black Hawk County health department linked the Tyson plant to 182 of the county’s 374 COVID-19 cases. Last week, Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart called for the Tyson facility to be shut down.
- Those were all factors in Tyson’s decision Wednesday to indefinitely stop production at the Waterloo facility this week. Despite the closures, the company will still pay its employees and provide its 2,800 staff members COVID-19 tests later this week. The plant’s reopening will depend on a number of factors, including the outcome of the tests, the company said.
- Tyson Fresh Meats group president Steve Stouffer said in a statement, “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.”
- Moreover, Congress moves to pass its latest $484 billion coronavirus relief bill this week, which will help many struggling states and their businesses. Many leaders are focusing in on additional legislation as a part of this unparalleled crisis.
- The bill, approved by the Senate on Tuesday, puts about another $370 billion into aid for small businesses damaged by the pandemic. It would also add another $75 billion in relief for hospitals and $25 billion to expand testing. The House plans to pass the package and have it on President Donald Trump’s desk by Thursday.
The U.S. has now spent nearly $3 trillion to try to curb the virus’s destruction. While congressional Democrats and the White House are spelling out priorities for further rescue measures, Republicans on Capitol Hill have become wary of adding to the coronavirus bill. It could very well lead to a partisan clash over priorities.