GREELEY, Colo. – JBS USA announced that its beef processing facility in Greeley, Colo., reopened April 24, starting with harvesting operations. Fabrication will resume April 27.
JBS said it suspended harvest operations on April 9 and fabrication on April 15. The facility was closed following a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Weld County, where more than 275 new cases have been reported since the plant closure.
“After voluntarily closing the Greeley beef facility in an effort to stop potential spread among our workforce and contribute to community containment, we have taken proactive steps to complement our existing COVID-19 prevention efforts in the facility and continue to provide a safe working environment,” said Chris Gaddis, JBS USA head of human resources. “We believe our partnership with the CDC, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and WCDPHE has enhanced our prevention protocols and will give our team members confidence to safely return to work.”
The meat processing company said it would enhance the existing daily temperature screening and provide free, on-site testing for symptomatic team members that will be conducted with the Weld County Health Department before entering the facility. Any worker with a fever or other confirmed COVID-19 symptoms will be sent home immediately.
While closed, JBS deep cleaned the facility, installed a new ventilation system for the fabrication cafeteria, enhanced existing social distancing protocols and finalized the installation of physical barriers on production lines. The company also conducted additional online training for COVID-19 symptom detection and increased signage in multiple languages to educate workers on ways to prevent potential spread.
“Team members were paid during the plant closure and the company proactively contacted employees through text messages, phone calls and social media to provide tips on what to do while away from work, in accordance with recommendations from the CDC and the WCDPHE,” JBS said. “All team members have been receiving temperature checks prior to entering the facility since April 2. Masks have been provided to team members since April 2 and are required to be worn at all times on company property.”