Although Gov. Kay Ivey recently relaxed some restrictions under the current safer-at-home order, the novel coronavirus is continuing to spread as businesses and industries ramp up for reopening. While Wayne Farms in Albertville has gotten a lot of attention for being a “hot spot” for cases of the viruses in Marshall County, it’s not the only business to have had its workforce affected.
Other food processing companies like Tyson Foods and Alatrade Foods have confirmed members of their workforce had contracted the virus, but unlike Wayne Farms, they have refused to release specific numbers, citing the “ever-changing” nature of the situation.
Information they have released has had to do with their sanitation and mitigation efforts. Most industries have adopted increased safety measures per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines. Kevin Parnell, with Alatrade, said the company has been taking employee temperatures, watching for symptoms and quarantining anyone who feels ill or has been potentially exposed to the virus. Tyson also released a statement explaining similar protocols including practicing social distancing and mandating employees wear face masks.
“No one should be fearful to go to work,” Tyson plan manager in Albertville Brad Massengale said in a statement. “Because our plants are already focused on food safety efforts, I believe they’re one of the safest places for a person to be. I want everyone in this community to know that we are committed to maintaining a safe working environment at Tyson Foods in Albertville, Alabama.”
Though Alatrade’s workforce of 1,000 employees may have dwindled, production has increased, Parnell said. He said there’s been “a lot more to do” to fulfill orders primarily for grocery stores utilizing a wider mix of products.
Other companies, like BPI Media Group in Boaz, haven’t been so fortunate. According to company president Alan Davis, the company saw a 32% drop in sales compared to last year. On the bright side, none of its 50-plus employees have reported symptoms or been diagnosed with COVID-19. Still, BPI has employed the same safety measures as the bigger industries including temperature checks, personal protective equipment, sanitation and swing shifts to reduce the amount of people in the building at one time.