SPRINGDALE, ARK. – John Tyson, chairman of the board with Tyson Foods Inc., took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on April 26 to express his concerns about the food supply chain during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The ad was also posted as a blog on the company’s website.
Tyson explained that with processing plants closing, farmers will not have places to sell livestock.
“Millions of animals – chickens, pigs and cattle – will be depopulated because of the closure of our processing facilities,” Tyson said in the advertisement. “The food supply chain is breaking.”
Tyson explained that the company has a delicate balance of keeping workers safe and keeping its plants operational to feed the country.
The meat producer currently has facilities closed in Logansport, Ind., and Waterloo, Iowa.
“There will be a limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed,” Tyson said.
“The government bodies at the national, state, county and city levels must unite in a comprehensive, thoughtful and productive way to allow our team members to work in safety without fear, panic or worry,” he said. “The private and public sector must come together. As a country, this is our time to show the world what we can do when working together.”
Tyson also iterated the steps the company has taken to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in plants, including taking worker temperatures and installing more than 150 infrared walk-through temperature scanners in facilities.
The company said it secured a supply of face coverings before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation and is now requiring them in all company facilities. Tyson said it conducts additional daily deep cleaning and sanitization along with social distancing measures.
The ad also said that it is waiving the waiting period to qualify for short-term disability so workers can immediately be paid if they get sick. Tyson Foods will also waive co-pay, co-insurance and deductible for doctor visits for COVID-19 testing, as well as eliminating pre-approval or preauthorization steps, waiving co-pays for the use of telemedicine and relaxing refill limits for 30-day prescriptions of maintenance medication.
The entire advertisement is available to read here.