I hope that you, your families, and your employees are healthy and well. Thank you for the hard work and sacrifice that you continue to make daily.
I have received numerous questions about President Trump’s executive order to keep meat and poultry processing facilities open during the COVID-19 national emergency and what it means for individual businesses. The primary purpose of the order is to keep these facilities open and operating. Before the order, the decision to close a plant was left to local authorities. Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be working with authorities and the plant to help keep it open while also trying to mitigate the risk to employees.
Something that is not fully discussed in the order is the prioritization of industry employees receiving access to personal protective equipment, such as masks and testing availability. New information and guidance is slowly coming out all the time. This is still a very fluid situation and as we receive word of anything definitive, we will pass it on to you.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Department of Labor recently put out guidance for plants to implement to help ensure employee safety to reopen plants or to continue to operate those still open. I believe most of our members are already taking these precautions; however, I would encourage you to review it. Remember, it is only guidance; do the best you can in your facility to mitigate risk to you and your staff.
I commend you for the valiant effort that you have put forth during these trying times to meet the growing demands of consumers in your area. Your efforts have been seen even more clearly in the last few weeks as large plants across the country were forced to close due to COVID-19 infections among their staff. As news began to spread of possible shortages coming, you stepped in the gap and continued to provide great products and services to the people of your communities.
AAMP continues to work for you and will keep you up-to-date with the latest information as we receive it. Again, thank you for your efforts during this time and we hope to see you in Des Moines in July.