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The exterior of the JBS Beef Plant in Greeley. (CBS4)
The exterior of the JBS Beef Plant in Greeley. (CBS4)

The Greeley beef plant where two workers have died and dozens have been infected in an outbreak of the new coronavirus will shut down until April 24 in an effort to suppress the disease.

Operations at the facility, owned and operated by Brazilian-based JBS, will wind down over the next two days before its doors will until later this month.


The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

  • MAP: Cases and deaths in Colorado.
  • TESTINGHere’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
  • VACCINE HOTLINE: Get up-to-date information.


The closure will allow for the plant, which employs 6,000, to be cleaned and for staff to be tested for the virus.

The situation at the facility has drawn the attention of the White House, which says it is working with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner to remedy the situation.

“While the Greeley beef facility is critical to the U.S. food supply and local producers, the continued spread of coronavirus in Weld County requires decisive action,” Andre Nogueira, CEO of JBS USA, said in a written statement. “As a leading member of this community, we believe we must do our part to support our local health professionals and first responders leading the fight against coronavirus.”

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, which represents workers at the plant, says  at least 42 workers have tested positive for the virus, including five who are hospitalized.

The union identified the two workers who died as Saul Sanchez, who was 78 but otherwise in good health, and 60-year-old Eduardo Conchas de la Cruz.

EARLIER: Union demands better conditions at Greeley beef plant as coronavirus outbreak worsens, draws White House’s attention

Polis said he spoke with Vice President Mike Pence about the situation at the facility three times over the weekend about the need to ensure the closure doesn’t disrupt the nation’s food security.

“Our hearts go out to the families of the JBS workers,” Polis said Monday during a briefing with reporters.

The Colorado National Guard has been offered to assist with the testing of the JBS workers.

Weld County has one of Colorado’s largest coronavirus outbreaks. Through Monday the county had more than 800 confirmed cases of the disease, including 53 deaths.

The Colorado Sun —

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Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage.

A Colorado College graduate, Jesse worked at The Denver Post from June 2014 until July 2018, when he joined The Sun. He was also an intern at The Gazette in Colorado Springs and The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, his hometown.

Jesse has won awards for long form feature writing, public service reporting, sustained coverage and deadline news reporting.

Email: Twitter: @jesseapaul