March 30, 2020, Trois-Rivieres, Que. – Olymel management has announced the temporary closure of its hog slaughter and cutting plant in Yamachiche for a period of 14 days due to COVID-19 cases by company employees.
A statement by the company says the closure is due to the growing number of cases of COVID-19 among plant employees, which has reached nine. The decision was made partly to protect the workers, and partly to limit community transmission.
This temporary closure will affect nearly 1,000 employees. Olymel stated it will offer its employees all the help and information they need in order to benefit from the government’s current financial assistance programs.
The public health department is recommending that all employees who have worked at the plant since March 12 self-isolate as a precaution, monitor themselves for symptoms, and adopt social distancing measures in order to protect their loved ones.
Olymel management will work in collaboration with public health, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec, to establish a plan to resume operations.
Olymel stated it will follow up with its suppliers, particularly the hog farmers who supply the plant, and make the necessary decisions. This temporary closure will not affect the distribution of products to local markets.
“On behalf of Olymel management, I would like to express our gratitude to all the employees of the Yamachiche plant for their efforts since the beginning of this health crisis,” said Réjean Nadeau, president and CEO of Olymel. “In collaboration with human resources, I would ask all of our other employees working in plants that are still in operation to exercise constant vigilance to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
“Our company and its employees will therefore be able to contribute to the continued operations of the agro-processing industry, which governments consider to be an essential activity for supplying distribution networks with the products needed to feed a population that is mostly in lockdown.”
The company has recruited two medical experts to help it through the process and has mobilized management, operations and human resources personnel to communicate and apply measures to prevent and fight the spread of the coronavirus in its facilities.
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