JBS USA is preemptively sending home at-risk workers from a beef processing plant in Colorado that has seen an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.
The plant, in Greeley, Colo., is one of the nation’s largest meatpacking facilities, employing some 3,500 people. An outbreak there caused 17 cases of COVID in November.
In response, JBS is sending home 202 workers deemed at risk due to age and other factors. They will receive full pay and benefits, and can stay home until infection rates in the area decrease.
JBS has a companywide policy of sending high-risk workers home with pay. Currently about 8% of its workforce is in that situation, a company spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal. In mid-March, the company offered paid leave to employees 70 and older, later lowering that threshold to 60.
The meat and poultry industry, which was hit with high infection rates in the first wave of the pandemic, is bracing for a second round and is lobbying for its workers to be among the first to receive vaccines.