Continued outbreaks of coronavirus at meat processing plants across the U.S. has led to meat shortages in certain regions. The outbreak has been felt at grocery stores, where meat prices have reportedly increased by 3.3%, as well as fast-food chains, where there is limited supply.

“It is widely known that beef suppliers across North America are currently facing production challenges,” a Wendy’s spokesman said in a statement in early May. “Some of our menu items may be temporarily limited at some restaurants in this current environment.”

As reported by KPLC, an NBC affiliate in southwest Louisiana, restaurants are beginning to shut down or limit offerings as it becomes more and more difficult for them to obtain their product.

“I just cannot get brisket,” Paul Pettefer, owner of Paul’s Rib Shack in Lake Charles, Louisiana, told KPLC. “I can’t get ribs, I can’t get pork shoulder. I couldn’t get poultry some weeks.”

Elsewhere, in western Pennsylvania, Rowdy BBQ in Brentwood has been forced to temporarily raise its prices steeply in the face of meat shortages.

“Meat’s doubled in price, so we could have doubled our prices or taken the items off the menu,” owner Steve Klingslend told WPXI-TV. “So we sort of went in the middle and kept everything on the menu.”

In Los Angeles County, another major meat processing plant has become the latest site of a major COVID-19 outbreak. The Farmer John processing plant, owned by Smithfield Foods and famed for producing the legendary Dodger Stadium hot dogs, said it has seen at least 116 employees test positive for the novel coronavirus. Estimates put the actual number in the range of 140.

“… Every employee involved in handling, preparing and processing food wears personal protective equipment covering their heads, faces (including masks and face shields), hands and bodies,” Smithfield’s official website states. “Additionally, employees undergo temperature checks and are screened for COVID-19 symptoms.”

Smithfield has become a subject of scrutiny after closing numerous other plants in South Dakota, Missouri, and Wisconsin after they experienced similar coronavirus outbreaks among employees.

The Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has been closed until further notice due to coronavirus
The Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has been closed until further notice due to coronavirus AFP / Kerem Yucel