The plant's 2,800 employees will continue to be paid, though the company acknowledged that the closure will affect its supply chain of farmers, truckers, distributors and customers like grocers.

Tyson pointed to worker absenteeism, employees contracting the virus and community concerns as reasons to temporarily close the facility, which was already running at reduced levels.

On April 17, 19 public officials in Iowa implored Tyson to close the plant, as well as levied criticism at Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who is still holding out on signing a stay-at-home order.

On Tuesday, Tyson reopened a Columbus Junction, Iowa, plant after two weeks of closure due to reports of two dozen workers contracting the virus.

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The Waterloo closure follows others in the country, like Smithfield Foods' facility in Sioux Fall, South Dakota, which has become the largest coronavirus hotspot in the United States.

Among thousands of workers filing complaints to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was a worker from a Georgia meat processing plant that described packed facilities despite confirmed cases and alleged deaths from the virus.

The closures come amid fears of a meat shortage in the U.S. While the U.S. has hundreds of millions of pounds of meat in cold storage, lack of processing options could mean less variety. Consumers are overwhelming slaughterhouses, with meat purchases rising 50%. Still, widespread shortages are less likely than very brief periods of supply disruption. The U.S. leads the world in confirmed cases of the coronavirus and reported deaths with 835,316 and 46,079 respectively.