WEISER – Fry Foods, Inc. closed its processing plant in Weiser after several employees tested positive for COVID-19.
The company was notified Sunday that at least eight employees were infected. Fry Foods closed down the plant voluntarily, according to Doug Wold, Oregon/Idaho Fry Foods human resources manager.
The roughly 260 employees who worked at the processing plant are now furloughed. Wold said the company is awaiting results from 50 tests conducted at Weiser Memorial Hospital.
“We’re hoping to get those results back today and then we’ll make a decision,” Wold said. “There’s no way we’ll open if we get positives and we feel it would be a risk to employees and the community.”
Fry Foods Inc. has a plant located at 602 Stanton Boulevard in Ontario that remains open. No cases have been found at the Ontario location.
Both plants have taken precautions, including checking employees' temperatures daily and installing plastic curtains between work stations, Wold said.
“At this time we’re confident that we’re safe and that it has not crossed over,” he added. “If that changes, then we'll probably take the same actions” in Ontario.
With no reopening date set at the plant in Weiser, at least some workers are seeking employment elsewhere.
Roy Vargas, small business advisor at the Treasure Valley Community College Small Business Development Center, works as a crew supervisor on Oregon and Idaho farms. Vargas said he began receiving calls Sunday night.
“I started getting calls from people wanting to see if I had temporary work while they reopened the plant,” Vargas said.
Wold said workers are being told to stay home if they’re sick and anyone with a fever over 99 is being sent home.
“But that hasn’t happened yet in Ontario,” he added.
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