Two Smithfield meat processing plants in Illinois closed due to coronavirus concerns

Smithfield Foods Inc. announced Friday that it will shutter operations at its Monmouth, Illinois, plant beginning Monday and until further notice. The company's location in St. Charles, Illinois, is also being closed until early May so that it can be cleaned and social distancing requirements put into place.


The Virginia-based company says a "small portion" of the Monmouth plant's

1,700 employees tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The Monmouth plant represents about 3 percent of U.S. fresh pork supplies and also produces bacon.

Employees will be paid during the closure.

Smithfield also has closed meatpacking plants in Cudahy, Wisconsin; Martin City, Missouri; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The Sioux Falls location has been the source of one of that state's largest COVID-19 outbreaks.

More than half a dozen meat processing plants have been shut down across the country.