GREELEY, Colo. – JBS USA announced the temporary closure of its Green Bay, Wis., beef production facility. The facility employs more than 1,200 people and feeds nearly 3.2 million Americans every day. In partnership and consultation with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Brown County Health and Human Services Department – Public Health Division, the company will advise its Green Bay team members to follow Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ ‘Safer at Home Order’ while the plant is closed.
Society collectively faces a global coronavirus pandemic that has spread throughout the world and every state in the United States. In Wisconsin, the virus has spread to 66 of 72 counties, including Brown County, home of the JBS Green Bay facility. JBS USA is striving to provide the safest working environment possible for its team members who are providing food for the nation during these unprecedented times. The company’s efforts to combat coronavirus continue to evolve as new information from medical experts becomes available. JBS USA will pay its team members during the plant closure.
“As an essential business providing necessary supplies and services for Wisconsin, we have endeavored to maintain operations to ensure continued access to safe, affordable food,” said Shannon Grassl, President of the JBS USA Regional Beef. “Given the continued spread of coronavirus in our community and among our workforce, we have decided to voluntarily close our Green Bay facility in an effort to help flatten the curve of infections in Brown County. We’ve been focused on doing everything we can to keep the virus out of our facility, but we believe a temporary closure is the most aggressive action we can take to help our community collectively slow the spread of COVID-19.”
JBS USA operates more than 60 meat, poultry and prepared foods facilities across the United States. The Green Bay beef facility is the fourth JBS USA plant to temporarily close to help slow community spread, joining the Souderton, Pa., beef production facility and the Greeley, Colo., beef production facility, both of which have reopened, and the Worthington, Minn., pork facility that remains closed.
JBS USA continues to partner with expert epidemiologists and medical professionals, and is following guidance provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local health departments and other officials, to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. To date, the company has adopted the following safety measures at its facilities to prevent coronavirus from entering its workplaces and support its team members:
- Temperature testing all team members prior to entering facilities, including the use of hands-free thermometers and thermal imaging testing technology;
- Providing extra personal protective equipment (PPE), including protective masks, which are required to be worn at all times;
- Promoting physical distancing by staggering starts, shifts and breaks, and increasing spacing in cafeterias, break and locker rooms, including plexiglass dividers in key areas;
- Increasing sanitation and disinfection efforts, including whole facility deep-cleaning every day;
- Hiring dedicated staff whose only job is to continuously clean facilities, including common areas beyond the production floor;
- Removing vulnerable populations from facilities, offering full pay and benefits;
- Requiring sick team members to stay home from work;
- Waiving short-term disability waiting periods;
- Relaxing attendance policies so people don’t come to work sick;
- Providing free 100% preventative care to all team members enrolled in the company’s health plan;
- Offering free LiveHealth Online services for team members enrolled in the company’s health plan that allow for virtual doctor visits at no cost;
- Educating and encouraging team members to practice social distancing at home and in the community outside of work; and
- Restricting access to facilities and not allowing visitors.
About JBS USA
JBS USA is a leading global food company providing diversified, high-quality food products for sale to customers in approximately 100 countries on six continents. This includes meat and poultry products, a portfolio of recognized brands and innovative premium foods.