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“Change is the only constant.” This adage rings truer than ever during these challenging times as our company and the rest of the nation continue to navigate the constant changes COVID-19 brings. The CDC recently altered its guidance on face coverings recommending people to wear a face cover when around others. We learned in late February of the potential shortage of masks and have since been working to obtain a supply of face coverings for our team members. With our recent supply of face coverings arriving and the CDC’s altered guidance, we’re now requiring all team members to wear face covers in all Tyson Foods facilities – plants, feed mills, cold storages and offices.

Our supply of face coverings

Over the weekend, our Tyson facilities across the U.S. began receiving face coverings for team members including federal inspectors working in our buildings. We expect our current supply to last up to four months. We’re conscious about the global supply of masks, particularly medical masks for our health care sector – surgical and N95. Our supply of face coverings is non-medical but achieve its purpose to cover the nose and mouth. We’ve also developed guidance in early April for team members wearing personal cloth face masks, while following Good Manufacturing Practices and making sure food safety standards can be met.

Face coverings help protect each other

While we’ve already implemented several protective measures including using walk-through temperature scanners, we’re aware that individuals with COVID-19 could be asymptomatic and could spread the virus to others even if they don’t feel sick. It’s critical to emphasize that we wear face coverings to protect each other. CDC states that covering the nose and mouth can slow the spread of the virus and protect other people from those who could be infected. Health officials including those from John Hopkins Center have indicated that using face covers can reduce transmission of COVID-19.  

More protective measures 

Combining protective measures is the most effective way to keep our team members safe, while still fulfilling our responsibility to feed the nation. While we’re requiring face coverings to be worn, we know that social distancing is a crucial tool for stopping COVID-19 from spreading. That’s why we’re installing workstation dividers and providing more breakroom space. In addition to practicing social distancing, we’re doing additional deep cleaning and sanitizing daily at our facilities. We’ve purchased and are installing more than 150 infrared walk-through temperature scanners in our food production facilities with the intent to have at least one of these scanners in each facility. We also relaxed our attendance policy in March to encourage workers to stay at home when they’re sick. 

Change is certainly constant, but so are our values and our promise to our team members – to give them a safe workplace. We’ll continue to adapt and do all that we can to protect our people.

Senior Vice President of Health & Safety at Tyson Foods