Jennie-O will 'pause' operations at Melrose facility amid COVID-19 outbreak

The Jennie-O Turkey store is going to "pause operations" temporarily at its Melrose, Minnesota location following confirmed cases of COVID-19 among employees.

Last week, Stearns County and company leaders confirmed employees at the Melrose location tested positive for the virus. Now, Jennie-O will be suspending operations for the time being "out of an abundance of caution."

"Based on the latest information about the community spread of COVID-19 in the area, the company decided it was the right decision to pause operations to undergo a facility-wide cleaning that will enhance its already thorough safety and sanitization protocols," Jennie-O said in a statement.

Jennie-O Turkey Store employees will continue to receive their base pay and benefits amid the closure.

The company has already closed two locations in Willmar due to the pandemic. Other food processing plants throughout Minnesota have been impacted by COVID-19. The JBS pork plant in Worthington closed due to an outbreak. A Pilgrim's Pride in Cold Spring also had employees test positive for the coronavirus.

Closures of meat processing plants may lead to breaks in the supply chain, causing issues for farmers. President Donald Trump used the Defense Production Act to keep meat processing plants to remain open, but safety remains a concern for plant workers.