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Reynolds says state ensured pandemic safety at meatpacking plants


Iowa Capital Dispatch: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds told a national television audience on Wednesday that Iowa had met the challenge of providing a “safe environment” for meatpacking-plant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reynolds made her remarks on Fox News with conservative commentator Sean Hannity presiding over a gathering of Republican governors who were there to discuss how their agendas are helping America. “It was imperative that we kept our food-processing plants open, and we kept our grocery stores full and meat on the table for families all across this country,” Reynolds said. Her claim ignores a number of closures reported by the plants themselves. Her statement that the state ensured “a safe environment” for employees has been disputed by local officials, workers’ families and media reports. At the Tyson Foods pork plant in Waterloo, at least 1,500 of the 2,800 workers were infected with COVID-19, according to the Black Hawk County sheriff, Tony Thompson, who also heads the county’s emergency management commission. At least eight plant workers died. Reynolds has carved out a place among the nation’s governors as one of the most aggressively focused on returning operations and policies to their pre-COVID state — and it’s generating national attention, the Des Moines Register reports.

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