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Cargill temporarily closes London, Ont. plant due to COVID outbreak

Company says employees will receive a weekly guarantee of 36 hours of pay while the poultry plant is closed
Shutterstock/El Nariz

Food giant Cargill Limited says it has temporarily closed its London, Ont., poultry processing plant due to a COVID-19 outbreak among some of its workers.

The company says there is an active case count of 82 and that 900 people work at the facility.

In a release Tuesday the company says it has no definite timeline on when the plant will reopen.

Cargill says it made the decision out of an abundance of caution as its workforce deals with the community-wide impacts of COVID-19 and employees will receive a weekly guarantee of 36 hours of pay.

It says it has made testing available to all its employees and has encouraged anyone who is sick or has been exposed to anyone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days to stay home.

Cargill says it is working closely with public health officials to ensure appropriate prevention, testing and cleaning in its facilities and that employees are following quarantine protocols at home.

"As we continue to prioritize the health and safety of Cargill employees, we have decided to temporarily idle our London protein facility,'' Derek Hill, general manager for Cargill's London plant, said in an email.

"Our focus is on continuing to keep our employees safe and getting our facility back to normal operations."

Cargill noted that safety measures at the facility, including temperature testing, enhanced cleaning and sanitizing, face coverings, screening between employee stations, prohibiting visitors, adopting social distancing practices, offering staggered breaks and reducing carpooling have been in place for months.

Cargill's website says its London facility processes 80,000 chickens per day.

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