Foster Farms Livingston plant shuts down for deep-cleaning

Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Foster Farms to pay all employees during COVID-19 closure
Foster Farm said all full-time and part-time employees must be tested before coming back to work on Monday evening.

LIVINGSTON, Calif. (KFSN) -- Most of the Foster Farms plant in Livingston is closed after a large coronavirus outbreak.

Employees drove out of Foster Farms Tuesday after the Livingston-based company was ordered to temporarily close following a COVID-19 outbreak.

RELATED: Foster Farms plant in Merced County shut down amid uncontrolled COVID-19 outbreak, 8 deaths

The processing plant, which is the largest portion of the facility, will remain closed until Monday night.

During the closure, the company will be deep-cleaning and testing all 1,400 plant employees.

"All of us employees had to sign some papers saying we need to come back twice while the plant is closed, and we have to get tested twice... and we have to get two negative results to come back to work," one employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told Action News.

An outbreak was declared at the facility in late June, with nearly 400 employees testing positive for the coronavirus and eight people who died.

Livingston mayor Gurpal Samra said the plant is their largest employer.

While the closure is necessary, he said there will be an economic impact.

"Foster Farms has a huge impact in not just salaries, but income tax, sales, and other contractors that come and do work," Samra said.

In a statement, Foster Farms claimed they would be paying all their employees during the closure.

RELATED: 'They don't care about the workers': Foster Farms employee at Livingston plant says he's scared to go back

An employee who asked to stay anonymous says they were told they'd also be paid for the two days they'd need to come and get tested as well.

The company said all full-time and part-time employees must be tested before coming back to work on Monday evening, and they also plan to regularly test the employees to control the spread of COVID-19.

"Nobody wants to see Foster Farms shut down forever. The biggest thing is let's fix the issue and get people feeling safe and make sure they are safe," Samra said.

If the company doesn't clean properly and is not able to test all their employees, the closure could be extended.