Olymel plant in Red Deer temporarily closed due to COVID-19

EDMONTON — The United Food and Commercial Workers union has confirmed that the Olymel plant in Red Deer has been temporarily shut down.

The move comes after the death of a worker in his 30s from COVID-19 last month.

The plant is currently dealing with an outbreak. The president of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) 401, Thomas Hesse said there have been more than 300 cases so far.

The union been asking the government to implement protective restrictions on food processing plants similar to ones imposed on the general public.

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley released a statement on the plant’s closure Monday night.

“I am glad the plant owners have finally listened to calls from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and are shutting down the plant,” she wrote. “We have seen a memo from Alberta Health Services indicating one-in-five workers at the plant may be infected with COVID-19 already and all efforts must be made to stop further spread. I hope the Olymel plant remains closed until the safety of all workers there can be assured.”

“We also continue to monitor the situation closely at other plants, namely one run by Cargill in High River, which remains the site of the largest outbreak of COVID-19 in Canada since the pandemic began.”

About 1.850 people work at the plant. 

This is a developing story; more information will be posted as it becomes available. 

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