(Reuters) – Cargill Inc plans to begin reopening its Guelph, Ontario beef processing plant next week on Tuesday, days after it closed the facility due to an outbreak of COVID-19 infections among workers, the company said.
Last week, Cargill voluntarily agreed to the temporarily closure as 82 workers tested positive for the virus and as a precaution, 129 other people were self-isolating.
“I can confirm that we plan to begin reopening our Guelph-Dunlop primary beef facility in Ontario, Canada on Tuesday, Dec. 29. This decision comes after careful deliberations among Cargill leadership and discussions with the Union and local health authorities,” a company spokesman said in a statement to Reuters on Tuesday.
Noting the precautions the company will take as it resumes operations, it said shifts for workers will be varying in length.
“Employees should not come to work with COVID-19 symptoms or if they have had contact with someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days,” the company said.
The Guelph plant, which employs 950 people, is the latest in a string of North American meat plants to suspend or reduce production during the pandemic, although the biggest closures occurred in spring, including at Cargill’s High River, Alberta plant.
Since then, packers have implemented new protective measures for workers, such as greater physical separation in plants that often involve elbow-to-elbow working conditions.
(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; editing by Uttaresh.V)