ROCHELLE, ILL. — Rochelle Foods, a subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corp., planned to reopen its manufacturing plant in the town of Rochelle, Ill., on May 4. The facility had been temporarily closed two weeks earlier by the local health department following an outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community.
Updated precautions taken by plant management to prevent the spread of the virus in addition to temperature screenings and the wearing of personal protective equipment included testing all employees for the virus, cleaning of high-touch areas, reconfiguration of common areas and workstations, revised shift scheduling, new guidelines on carpooling and more extensive social distancing measures. Hormel Foods has collaborated with health officials to develop a mitigation plan that exceeds guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the company.
“As these national health experts have told us, we understand that with more testing, we will see more positives,” said Bill Rice, plant manager. “We are focused on the health and safety of our team members and these test results will help us ensure people understand their current status. In some cases, it is possible that there are individuals who have COVID-19 and are asymptomatic and others who may not have realized they had symptoms.”
In addition to the Rochelle Foods plant, Hormel Foods has temporarily closed five plants, including operations in Alma, Kan.; Dallas; Willmar and Melrose, Minn., during the past two weeks.