A North Carolina hair salon has refused to serve Tyson Food staff after hundreds of workers at a local plant tested positive for coronavirus.
Some 570 employees at the chicken-processing plant – out of a workforce of 2,000 – tested positive for the disease this month, prompting the manager of SmartCuts in Wilkesboro to refuse entry to any of its employees.
Hair salons were allowed to open over the weekend as part of Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s plans to end lockdown, reported Huff Post.
On May 20 Gov. Cooper revealed the state would transition to a Phase 2 safer-at-home recommendation. It went into effect on Friday, May 22, and meant restaurants, swimming pools, hair salons and retail businesses could all reopen.
Some 570 employees at Tyson Foods – out of a workforce of 2,000 – tested positive for coronavirus this month, prompting the manager of SmartCuts (pictured) in Wilkesboro to refuse entry to any of its employees
But when SmartCuts opened for business on Friday a sign on the door read: ‘Due to the number of Tyson employees who have tested positive for Covid19, and given the close contact experienced during our services, we are unable to serve Tyson employees.
‘We sincerely apologize for this decision, and we ask for your understanding,’
Amy McGinty, a worker at Tyson Foods for 13 years, blasted the salon for treating her colleagues ‘like a disease’.
She told the website: ‘They’re getting our food, but they won’t service us.’
There have been 22,725 positive tests in North Caroline for coronavirus, and 737 deaths since the outbreak began in the state.
A sign (pictured) on the door of the hair salon warned that employees at Tyson Foods would not be served. Its manager, Cathy, says they can claim $3 discount on haircuts from June 8
Cathy, the manager of the salon, declined to give her last name but said workers at the food plant were ‘at risk’.
She added: ‘We respect their business, and we really appreciate that they’re essential workers. But that puts them at risk.’
She revealed Tyson workers would be allowed back from June 8, when they would be able to get $3 off the price of a haircut.
Tyson Foods recently revealed it had reopened following a deep clean because 570 of its 2,244 full-time and contract employees had tested positive for Covid-19.
The Tyson Foods chicken-processing plant in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, pictured above, reported that 25.4 percent of its employees had tested positive for coronavirus
It is likely one of the largest coronavirus outbreaks in the state and affected 25.4 percent of the facility’s workforce.
Meat processing plants have become major outbreak hotspots across the country with more than 14,000 cases among workers causing concern for the nation’s food supply chain.
Companies say they have increased safety measures but unions have issued a warning that the federal safety guidelines can be ignored, leaving workers at risk.
Tyson Foods, pictured a plant in Springdale, Arkansas, has said that they have implemented stricter safety measures but as outbreaks in its plants worsened this week, unions voiced concerns that the new procedures do not have to be implemented putting workers at risk
Tyson Foods said that the majority of the workers who tested positive in the Wilkesboro plant were not showing symptoms and if they had not been tested ‘otherwise would not have been identified’.
The company had tested 2,007 employees at the plant for the virus between May 6 and May 9.
The other employees were tested by the the county health department or through their health care provider.
‘We are working closely with local health departments to protect our team members and their families, and to help manage the spread of the virus in our communities,’ said Tom Brower, Tyson’s senior vice president of health and safety.
Tyson Foods employees in Texas claim 300 workers tested positive for coronavirus and forklift truck driver at plant has died
A forklift operator in a Tyson Foods plant in Sherman, Texas, has died of coronavirus.
The man in his 50s became the first person in Grayson County to die from the illness.
He had been tested for coronavirus a few days before but was still awaiting results.
All employees at the plant were tested last week but remain in work until they receive results.
An anonymous worker told CBS that people are being asked to leave the plant and quarantine as their positive results come in.
Employees at the plant say that nearly 300 workers as the plant have tested positive.
The company added that those who test positive will be placed on paid leave and will not return to work until ‘they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and Tyson’.
Two of the three plants at the facility had already been temporarily shut down for cleaning after the outbreak in the plant was first reported in April.
Tyson had announced on May 14 that it was conducting a second temporary shutdown of its Fresh Plant 2 facility which had been complete on Tuesday.
The Fresh Plant 1 facility was operating on a limited basis having reopened following cleaning.
The company has temporarily closed at least seven facilities across the country for deep cleaning including three in Iowa, and one each in Indiana, Nebraska and Washington.
According to Statesville.com, there have been 3,500 infected workers in those plants.
Tyson Foods is among the food processing companies forced to implement stricter health and safety procedures against the coronavirus as it battle to keep its plants open.
The company has introduced daily clinical symptoms checks for employees and provided nurse practitioners on site and enhanced education.
JBS has also introduced heightened safety measures including temperature checks and facemasks but workers fear it is not enough.
According to CBS News, there are now more than 14,000 coronavirus cases in at least 181 meatpacking plants across the US.
There have been at least 54 worker deaths.
Unions have voiced concerns that the new safety measures taken do not have to be properly implemented.
Extensive guidance issued last month by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that meatpacking companies erect physical barriers, enforce social distancing and install more hand-sanitizing stations, among other steps.
But the guidance is not mandatory.
‘It’s like, “here’s what we’d like you to do. But if you don’t want to do it, you don’t have to”,’ said Mark Lauritsen, international vice president and director of the food processing and meatpacking division for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
Tyson has already closed at least seven plants temporarily for deep cleaning but the outbreaks continue. An employee at a plant in Texas died as he awaited his coronavirus test results
Tyson Foods confirmed Wednesday that 570 of its 2,244 full-time and contract employees have been infected in the Wilkesboro plant, pictured above. Two sections of the plant had been closed temporarily for deep cleanings after the outbreak started in April
OSHA’s general guidance plainly says the recommendations are advisory and ‘not a standard or regulation,’ and they create ‘no new legal obligations’.
But the guidance also says employers must follow a law known as the general duty clause, which requires companies to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards.
Coronavirus outbreak hits Kraft Heinz plant in Missouri that is the sole producer of Oscar-Mayer bologna
The Kraft Heinz processing plant in Kirksville, Missouri, announced on Wednesday that several workers have tested positive for coronavirus
The facility is the sole plant that makes all the Oscar-Mayer bologna sold in the United States.
Michael Mullen, the senior vice president of corporate affairs at Kraft Heinz, said a ‘handful’ of employees’ were affected.
They are in self-quarantine at home with full pay, he added.
The plant employees about 900 people in Kirksville.
Critics say that rule is unlikely to be enforced, especially after President Donald Trump signed an executive order in April aimed at keeping meat plants open.
The closure of meat processing plants across the country is having a drastic effect on the nations’s food supply chain.
Limited closures and worker absenteeism also mean that the facilities are not able to process the same amount of produce being supplied by farmers.
Amid the meat processing plant closures, there have been reports of farmers euthanizing cattle and pigs, while dairy farmers have been discarding milk supply due to distribution problems.
School and restaurant closures have also directly impacted demand.
Chairman of Tyson Foods John Tyson recently commented that ‘the food supply chain is breaking’ as he warned that ‘millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain’ and that ‘there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed’.
‘In addition to meat shortages, this is a serious food waste issue,’ he added.
‘Farmers across the nation simply will not have anywhere to sell their livestock to be processed, when they could have fed the nation. Millions of animals – chickens, pigs and cattle – will be depopulated because of the closure of our processing facilities.’
Despite this, shares in food processing companies such as Tyson and Kraft Heinz are slowly rebounding after plummeting in mid-March, even as new plant outbreaks emerge.
In another Tyson Foods plant in Texas, a forklift operator became the first person in Grayson County to die from coronavirus this week.
This Tyson Foods plant in Sherman, Texas, also has an outbreak. All employees at the plant were tested last week but remain in work until they receive results, an employee says
Employees at the plant say that nearly 300 workers at the plant have tested positive, CBS reports.
The man, who was in his 50s, had been tested for coronavirus a few days before his death but was still awaiting results.
He felt short of breath and drove himself to the hospital where he suffered a cardiac arrest.
Every worker at the Tyson Foods Plant in Sherman had been tested last week but they all continue to work as they await the results.
The company said it has begun testing the temperature of employees before allowing them inside the building.
‘I mean today they were just coming basically as they were getting results in, they were coming and getting people and escorting them out of the building and telling them to go on a 2-week quarantine,’ one anonymous employee told CBS.
‘So basically, all they’re doing is walking up to you and saying, “Hey, I need you to come with me”. And they walk you to the door almost like you’re being fired, which to me would be like humiliation.’
Employees added that some 1,000 tests have come back negative but they are still awaiting the result of hundreds more.
A coronavirus outbreak was confirmed in this Kraft Heinz plant in Missouri Wednesday. The facility is the sole plant that makes all the Oscar-Mayer bologna sold in the United States
The company said it would not release the number of positive cases in the plant until all results are in.
‘We are saddened by the loss of any Tyson team member and sympathize with their family at this difficult time. At Tyson Foods our top priority is the health and safety of our team members,’ said Tyson spokesperson Derek Burelson.
A new outbreak was also reported Wednesday in a Kraft Heinz plant in Missouri.
The Kirksville facility is the sole plant that makes all the Oscar-Mayer bologna sold in the United States.
‘A handful of Kraft Heinz employees in our Kirksville, Missouri factory have tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are in self-quarantine at home with full pay,’ Michael Mullen, the senior vice president of corporate affairs at Kraft Heinz, told the Kirksville Daily Express.
‘We have taken all necessary steps to identify and notify individuals who worked closely with these employees. We have taken several proactive measures to ensure the wellbeing of our people and to help reduce the risk of virus exposure or transmission.’
The plant employs around 900 people.
Source: dailymail US