Tyson Foods executives said in a full-page ad published Sunday that the closure of food-processing plants due to the coronavirus is “breaking” the supply chain.
In a full-page ad published in The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, board chairman John Tyson wrote that “the food supply chain is breaking," saying farmers will be left without anywhere to sell livestock and "millions of animals — chickens, pigs and cattle — will be depopulated because of the closure of our processing facilities."
"There will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed," he added.
In the ad, Tyson said it will waive the waiting period for short-term disability to allow workers who get sick to immediately be paid as well as waiving the co-pay, co-insurance and deductible for doctor visits for coronavirus testing, along with donating more than $11 million in food and meals since March 11.
The company has already closed facilities in Logansport, Ind., and Waterloo, Iowa, while Smithfield has closed a facility in Sioux Falls, S.D., where at least one worker has died from the virus, as well as a JBS facility in Worthington, Minn. The Waterloo, Worthington and Sioux Falls facilities comprise about 15 percent of pork production in the U.S.
At least 182 cases of the virus were linked to the Waterloo plant closure, and three employees told CNN the plant has taken insufficient steps to protect them from the virus, including conditions that made it all but impossible to properly practice social distancing inside the facility.
The company told CNN plants are sanitized daily and Tyson himself wrote in the advertisement that the company performs daily temperature checks and requires the wearing of face masks in all facilities.