Smithfield Foods to re-open Saturday

MONMOUTH, Ill. (NEWS3) — Employees at a local food plant will be returning back to work this weekend after closing its doors for almost a week due to workers catching the coronavirus.

Smithfield Foods in Monmouth announced it will resume operations starting Saturday. This comes after the company said on April 24 it would suspend operations until further notice due to “a small portion” of its employees testing positive for the coronavirus.

The pork-processing company is now changing that decision for its 1,700 employees. This comes in the wake of an executive order signed Tuesday by President Trump to keep meat and poultry processing plants open to prevent food shortages.

Smithfield management said its employees in the kill, shipping, plant service, maintenance and animal foods departments will be able to return Saturday.

The company said all cold side operations and the entire plant will be back to normal effective Monday.

Warren County Health Department said on April 17, it was investigating Smithfield Foods after an outbreak at the plant. Officials said three employees tested positive for the virus. Two of those workers live in Rock Island County and the other is a Warren County resident. The health department has not provided further comment since that announcement.

Warren County now has 57 positive coronavirus cases.