President Trump said that meat processing companies are “so thrilled” and “so happy” about an executive order he signed last night that compelled meat plants to remain open and absolved the companies of some legal liabilities.
“I just got off the phone with the big companies that you’ve been reading about. They’re so thrilled, they’re so happy, and we’ve solved their problems. We’ve unblocked some of the bottlenecks,” the President said from the Oval Office Wednesday.
“They were so happy, they’re like, it’s like a new business for them,” he continued. “They were being very unfairly treated. Very unfairly treated.”
“So, the farmers are very happy, the ranchers, and the companies that we’re talking about. You know the ones I’m talking about because they’ve all become very well known. They were well known anyway, they’re big companies, but they’re now being treated fairly. They’re thrilled,” Trump said.
But, contrary to the President’s comments about the companies “being treated unfairly,” many plant closures across the country were due to thousands of employees becoming infected with coronavirus.
In addition to other dangers for workers in the industry, efforts to speed up processing has led to workers standing closer together — about 3 or 4 feet apart from each other while working.
Officials say that people should stand about 6 feet apart in order to maintain social distancing practices that could help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Major meat processors such as Smithfield, Tyson and others say they’ve put measures in place, like temperature checks and plexiglass to encourage social distancing in some areas and to help keep their workers safe. But some workers say their employers aren’t doing enough to protect them.
Asked about what protections will be in place for workers, Trump said they will have “good form of protection through quarantine.”
“We’re going to have a report on that probably this afternoon, and we’re going to have good form of protection through quarantine,” Trump said. “When we find somebody that’s not, we’re going to be very, they’re going to be very careful, they are, as to who’s going into the plant, and the quarantine is going to be very strong, and we’re going to make people better when they have a problem.”
“We’re going to get them better,” he said. “Hopefully they’re going to get better.”