More meat processing plants have closed due to employees due to coronavirus infections. JBS closed one plant while Hormel Foods (HRL) shut down two subsidiary plants.

JBS announced on Monday that it was closing its pork processing plant in Worthington, Minnesota, because of the spread of the coronavirus indefinitely. About 2,000 employees work at the plant that processes 20,000 hogs per day.

"We don’t make this decision lightly," Bob Krebs, president of JBS USA Pork, said in a statement. "We recognize JBS Worthington is critical to local hog producers, the U.S. food supply and the many businesses that support the facility each and every day."

JBS said it will pay workers during the plant closure.

Over the weekend, Hormel announced that it was closing its Rochelle Foods and Alma Foods plants located in Rochelle, Illinois, and Alma, Kansas, respectively. The plants are expected to remain closed for about two weeks. Employees at both plants have tested positive for the coronavirus.

"We have decided to close our facility to ensure a broader understanding of COVID-19 and the impact to our operations," Bill Rice, plant manager at Rochelle Foods, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the outbreak has had an effect on our ability to fully operate. We have been part of the fabric of this community for decades, so this news is incredibly disappointing to our great team of people."

Hormel said workers would continue to receive pay and benefits during the shutdown, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported.

The news of the plant closures come as Smithfield Foods saw one of the largest U.S. clusters of COVID-19 at a South Dakota plant, with over 500 employees testing positive for the virus. The plant is closed indefinitely.

Hormel and JBS are not alone in shutting down plants because of the coronavirus. Tyson (TSN) and Cargill have also closed meat processing plants.

Shares of Hormel Foods stock were down 1.80% as of 3:57 p.m. EDT on Tuesday while shares of Tyson were down 2.94% at the same time. 

A butcher prepares meat in downtown Amman July 28, 2011, ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan. A butcher prepares meat in downtown Amman July 28, 2011, ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan. Photo: Reuters