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Michigan meat and poultry processors face stiffer coronavirus requirements

 File photo, Sam Kane beef slaughterhouse in Corpus Christi, Texas
File photo, Sam Kane beef slaughterhouse in Corpus Christi, Texas (KSFY)
Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 4:07 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Meat and poultry processors in Michigan are required to meet new, stiffer requirements to prevent the spread of coronavirus among employees.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer outlined 10 requirements for the facilities in an order issued Thursday. She hopes the new measures head off a coronavirus outbreak in meatpacking plants, which have been hot spots for the illness in other states due to employees working close to each other.

“By implementing these science-backed safety guidelines we can help avoid the sharp upticks in COVID-19 cases states in the South and West are experiencing now,” Whitmer said.

The new requirements include:

  • Reduce or modify production schedules to minimize the number of employees inside.
  • Screening everyone entering the facility every day for coronavirus.
  • Reconfiguring work spaces to keep employees six feet apart, including curtains or dividers to provide physical separation. Also, install signs and floor markings to remind everyone of social distancing requirements.
  • Give employees cloth face coverings to wear, replace them whenever they get contaminated and require them for everyone who is inside, except when eating or drinking.
  • Provide face shields for employees as necessary.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation throughout the building.
  • Offer sick leave policies that discourage employees from coming to work if they are ill.

“Ensuring the health and safety of the people who work in Michigan’s meat and poultry processing plants is critical to preserving the integrity of the state’s food supply chain,” said Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gary McDowell.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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