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Tyson will reopen Waterloo plant where hundreds sickened

May 6, 2020 GMT

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Tyson Foods will begin limited operation Thursday of its huge pork processing plant in Waterloo, more than two weeks after closing the facility because of a coronavirus outbreak among workers, the company announced Tuesday.

Tyson said workers have been invited to tour the plant Wednesday to see enhanced safety measures and social distancing procedures that have been implemented. The plant has been closed since April 22, and the Iowa Department of Public Health reports 444 workers have tested positive for the virus.

The company said in a news release that local officials, union leaders and others toured the plant to see the changes.

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The plant is Arkansas-based Tyson’s largest pork processing operation, with the ability to process 19,500 hogs per day. That accounts for 3.9% of the U.S. pork processing capacity, according to the National Pork Board.

All those who will return to work have been tested for COVID-19, the disease cased by the virus, the company said. Those who have tested positive will remain on sick leave until they can return to work.

Tyson said workers who haven’t been tested won’t be able to return to work, and all new hires must be tested before beginning their jobs.