‘Shortages Will Be Occurring’: Coronavirus Disrupting Meat Supply Chain

Some meat packing plants have been forced to shut down, straining the U.S. meat supply chain.

‘Shortages Will Be Occurring’: Coronavirus Disrupting Meat Supply Chain

WATERLOO, Iowa (CBS Local) — Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, some meat packing plants have been forced to shut down, straining the U.S. meat supply chain and raising concern over potential shortages.

“Meat shortages will be occurring two weeks from now in the retail outlets,” Dennis Smith, a senior account executive at Archer Financial Services, told Bloomberg. “There is simply no spot pork available. The big box stores will get their needs met, many others will not.”

Tyson Foods on Tuesday said it is closing the company’s largest pork plant, which has 2,800 employees and processes 19,500 hogs a day in Waterloo, Iowa. The shutdown followed an outbreak of at least 180 COVID-19 cases there.

“Despite our continued efforts to keep our people safe while fulfilling our critical role of feeding American families, the combination of worker absenteeism, COVID-19 cases, and community concerns has resulted in our decision to stop production,” said Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats.

The closure follows other major shutdowns at plants run by Smithfield Foods, JBS USA, and other companies that prop up the country’s meat supply.

Processing plants can be a breeding ground for the virus because many workers spend their day side-by-side.

“We are very close. We can’t use a social distance at that place,” said a man who recovered from COVID-19 who works at Smithfield Foods in South Dakota, where almost 900 employees have tested positive.

The disruptions are cascading through meat supply chains and causing “weird” dislocations for prices, Bloomberg reports. Finished products are surging, while farmers are getting paid much less for animals.

Source : CBS Boston More   

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Massachusetts Gaming Commission In Talks Over ‘Safe and Sustainable Reopening’ Of Casinos

Massachusetts casinos have been closed since March 15 and will remain shuttered until at least May 4.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission In Talks Over ‘Safe and Sustainable Reopening’ Of Casinos

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, April 23, 2020 (State House News Service) — Massachusetts gaming regulators are looking to Macau, China, for insights into what a safe and effective reopening of casinos here might take.

Massachusetts casinos have been closed since March 15 and will remain shuttered until at least May 4. During Thursday’s Gaming Commission meeting, Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein said there is no concrete timeline for reopening but the commission is beginning to think about it.

“We are fully engaged with our licensees in preparation for a new normal and the myriad of considerations for a safe and sustainable reopening,” she said. “What we do know for sure is it won’t be as simple as unlocking the doors and switching the lights back on.”

She said it is helpful that two of the three gambling operators in the state, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts, shut down and then reopened their casinos in Macau. Interim Executive Director Karen Wells said the commission has a team that will meet Friday to look at lessons learned from Macau.

Judd-Stein also said the commission has drawn insights from a document Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox prepared for properties elsewhere, detailing proposed policies around disinfecting surfaces, protective gear for employees and guests, and limiting casino capacity.

“Whatever the plans are, they will require robust public education campaigns for customers and employees,” Judd-Stein said. “Right now though, the focus remains on staying home to stop the spread and flatten the curve. But as we think about looking towards the next phase, whatever that may be, there will be no shortage of logistics to consider.”

(© Copyright 2020 State House News Service)

Source : CBS Boston More   

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