HAMBURG, GERMANY — German officials in Emsland ordered the closure of a meatpacking plant owned by Tönnies Group, due to difficulties with COVID-19.

The Weidemark company, which is located in northern Germany, was ordered to stop slaughter on Oct. 9, complete any packing by Oct. 11 and then close for 22 days, according to Reuters

In a release on Oct. 8, Tönnies Group, said that 4,179 employees were tested in the last seven days with 72 positives for the virus. 

“We are looking to talk to the authorities as the closure order is not proportionate for us,” said Christopher Rengstorf, managing director for Tönnies. “In the past few days, we have coordinated and installed numerous other preventive measures to protect against new infections with the authorities of the Emsland in order to relieve the pressure on the agricultural production chains simultaneously.”

The company also said that infections have been falling since Oct. 6 with seven new infections on that day.

Tönnies said that Weidemark tests every employee daily with a PCR test and a requirement of FFP-2 masks and social distancing. The meat processor added that it is in constant contact with Emsland and is preparing an objection to the closure order before an administrative court. 

“Sending employees home now without quarantine is a greater risk for them than being tested daily in the company and working if the result is negative,” Rengstorf said.

Tönnies was forced to close a facility in June for a month following a COVID-19 outbreak that infected more 1,500 people in Gütersloh, Germany.