Jennie-O closing Willmar facilities due to COVID-19 spread in the area

Jennie-O Turkey Store, Inc., announced Friday that it is temporarily pausing operations at its Willmar facilities, which are located on Willmar and Benson avenues.

The company announced the decision just two days after some of its employees in Willmar tested positive for COVID-19. Jennie-O said the decision was based on information about the community spread of COVID-19 in the area.

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During the closure, a facility-wide cleaning operation will be undertaken to help enhance safety and sanitization protocols.

The company also said employees will continue to receive 100% of base pay and benefits during the pause in operations.

COVID-19 cases confirmed at Jennie-O plant in Willmar

“The health, well-being and safety of our team members is our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to take a pause in operations,” said Steve Lykken, president of Jennie-O Turkey Store. “We are being thoughtful and considerate in our approach to this process. I want to recognize our production professionals for continuing to do an outstanding job as they work to keep food on
tables during this unprecedented time. I am very proud of them and I look forward to being back together as soon as we are able.”

Jennie-O said operations at the facilities will wind down throughout the weekend.

As of Thursday, 14 employees out of more than 1,200 had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the company.

It’s unclear exactly how long the facilities will remain closed.