ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota state government has issued new coronavirus guidance for the meatpacking industry.
"The meatpacking sector is an important part of Minnesota's economy and a critical source for our food supply," says Commissioner Nancy Leppink, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. "They have also been hot spots across the country for COVD-19 transmission. The following guidelines will help ensure Minnesota's meatpacking sector has appropriate measures in place to protect the safety of their employees and continue producing the food necessary to keep our state and nation fed."
To see the new guidance in full, click here. It addresses the following issues:
• employee and visitor screening;
• cleaning and disinfecting;
• distancing and production, work-shift schedules and work-break schedules;
• personal protective equipment (PPE) and facial coverings;
• personnel hygiene and adequate handwashing facilities;
• communications and training for managers and workers;
• COVID-19 Business Plan;
• working remotely; and
• employment and human resources items.
"We continue to work closely with our local partners and other state agencies to support and protect the workers and the communities in which they live," says Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Minnesota Department of Health. "It is important we find ways to address COVID- 19 and limit its spread in any setting where it could spread quickly from person to person."
Due to the spread of COVID-19, the state is also asking meatpackers' assistance to assess the spread in Minnesota. The state has requested information from employers about the numbers of employees who have tested positive for the virus along with other COVID-19 related spread information.
"Minnesota's meatpacking sector is an important market for Minnesota pig and poultry farmers and ensuring the sector can safely operate in these unprecedented times is critical," says Commissioner Thom Petersen, Minnesota Department of Agriculture. "Minnesota's Department of Agriculture is committed to partnering with our fellow agencies in making sure Minnesota workers are protected and can continue their role in feeding the country."