Iowa meat plants must stay open despite risks, governor says

Local News
Kim Reynolds

In this Nov. 7, 2019, photo Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in her formal office at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. For Reynolds, her drunken driving conviction nearly 20 years ago marked a turning point. Now, after becoming the state’s first female governor, the Republican is using her experience as motivation for a stubborn campaign to restore the vote to felons that has divided her from many in her own party.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Monday that Iowa’s meatpacking plants will stay open and likely continue to spread the coronavirus among workers, warning that shutting them down would be devastating for farmers and the food supply.

Reynolds acknowledged at a news conference that the virus spreads quickly and easily at the plants because so many workers are in close proximity.

She said that “we will continue to see clusters of positive cases” in them.

Reynolds said closing them wasn’t an option, calling the state’s most important objective “keeping that food supply chain moving.”

Otherwise, she warned that farmers would have to euthanize animals scheduled to be sold to plants and the price of food would skyrocket.

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