MONMOUTH, Ill. (WMBD) — The Smithfield Foods meat packing plant in Monmouth has reopened after temporarily closing down due to COVID-19.
City leaders and the Warren County Health Department on Wednesday said they have been working with Smithfield Foods during the pandemic to provide support, technical assistance and to address constituent concerns regarding business impactions. Upon review, the measures being taken to ensure worker safety and continued operations have been found to be very comprehensive.
A comprehensive operations plan has been reviewed by the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Smithfield will begin voluntary COVID-19 testing for all of its employees, and they are required to wear face masks and shields while working in the plant.
Additionally, a work crew has been assigned to disinfect all contact surfaces 24/7 with a mixture of chlorine and ammonia.
The full outline can be read below:
- Smithfield will begin voluntary COVID-19 testing of all plant employees
- All employees wear face masks and shields while working in the plant
- Comprehensive symptom screening is performed before employees are allowed to enter the facility
- No worker is permitted to work while sick and thermal scanning is performed daily
- Plexiglass barriers have been installed in areas where employees are not able to maintain adequate distance from other employees
- Sanitization is performed after every work shift
- A work crew has been assigned to sanitize employee hands every 15 minutes
- Outdoor structures have been constructed to enable worker breaks in the open air with social distancing
- Picnic and lunch tables have had plexiglass barriers installed in order to separate employees from potential contact
- The use of all communal appliances like microwaves and vending machines have been discontinued in an effort to reduce cross-contamination
- Sanitary fogging is conducted multiple times a day
- A work crew has been assigned to disinfect all contact surfaces 24/7 with a mixture of chlorine and ammonia
- Air circulation and exchange has been restricted
- Employees over the age of 60 may opt for a paid leave due to an increased risk of complications
- Daily briefings and regular site inspections are being held with the Warren County Health Department and the City Of Monmouth
The city said employees at the facility commute from a six-county radius and extensive contact tracing has to be done to ensure safety.
Shortly after Smithfield announced its temporary shutdown, it was ordered to continue production under President Donald Trump’s Defense Production Act. Upon inspection, the city said it was apparent that the workers were able to implement the necessary changes in that allotted timeframe.