Ontario Maple Leaf Foods plant shut down after staff contract coronavirus

Maple Leaf Foods has been forced to temporarily close a major poultry plant located in Brampton, Ont. after three employees tested positive for coronavirus.

Maple Leaf Foods has been forced to temporarily close a major poultry plant located in Brampton, Ontario, after three employees tested positive for coronavirus, according to CTV News.

Maple Leaf Foods made the decision, “out of an abundance of caution,” according to statement they released to the press.

"As a major food company in an essential industry, Maple Leaf Foods is doing everything possible to protect the health of our 13,000 team members while producing the food our customers in North America and Asia need now more than ever,” read the statement.

“Our first priority is to keep our people safe so the decision was made to shut down the facility, pending a full risk assessment.”

Maple Leaf Foods hasn't released any further information regarding the three infected employees, as to their health or how long ago their last day at the facility was.

While an investigation into how the virus may have been contracted takes place, the company will conduct a thorough cleaning of the factory.

“We will not begin operating again until we are confident that it is safe to return to work,” said the statement.

Maple Leaf Foods Heritage plant in Hamilton, Ontario, also saw one confirmed case of COVID-19 in one of their staff although the employee had not been at the plant for two weeks prior to being diagnosed.

“We've completed thorough sanitation at Heritage and the plant is fully operating.”

Maple Leaf Foods have taken on new protocols to ensure their employees remain safe and healthy, such as social distancing and increased sanitation of common areas. Staff shifts and breaks have also been staggered to prevent employees from being crowded. Certain offices have been transformed into break rooms and the company will soon bring in temperature screening of front-line employees.

“This is a very fluid situation and our teams are working very closely within our network, as well as with our supply chain and logistics partners so that we can continue to deliver safe food at this critical time,” said the company.

“This is truly an unprecedented period for our company and the entire food industry. Maple Leaf Foods takes our responsibility to feed people seriously every day of the year. You have my personal assurance that we stand with our 13,000 team members and with our customers in getting through this difficult crisis."