The Ogle County Health Department has ordered the Hormel Foods plant in Rochelle, Illinois, to close immediately due to an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Health officials say there are at least two dozen cases linked to the facility.
The plant will be forced to close for two weeks.
“Although many essential businesses are open and operating, we will not tolerate them risking the health and safety of their employees or our community during this pandemic or any other time,” Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows said in a statement Friday.
The county health department said it made “several attempts” to help control the outbreak, including recommending additional testing, steps for employee monitoring, new sanitation processes and more.
“My team has spent countless hours in collaboration with Rochelle Foods in an attempt to mitigate the virus spread,” Kyle Auman, Ogle County Health Department administrator, said in a statement. “Since these efforts were unsuccessful, it is my duty to order a complete closure of the facility.”
In a statement, Hormel confirmed it was given a notice of closure on Friday and that it’s “working to further understand the closure order and are consulting with our legal counsel to understand next steps,” according to ABC News affiliate KAAL.
The company said Rochelle Foods team members would continue to be paid during the closure.