Note: The following is a message from Tyson Foods CEO Noel White to the company’s team members.
Springdale, Ark. – Mar. 17, 2020 – Protecting team members and ensuring the continuity of our business are essential as we continue efforts to address COVID-19 (coronavirus). We’ve been actively monitoring this situation and are continually adjusting our approach as we learn more about the spread of this virus.
Tyson Foods’ role as America’s largest food company is critical, so ensuring we’re able to continue producing food is essential. That’s why we’re taking additional measures to protect our people and our company.
Social distancing – avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance from others when possible – can help people avoid the virus. That’s why Tyson Foods has implemented travel restrictions. Late last month Tyson Foods suspended all international business travel on commercial carriers. Effective immediately, we are suspending all U.S. commercial business travel. Exceptions must be approved by an Enterprise Leadership Team (ELT) member.
For the same precautionary reasons, we encourage you to avoid personal travel via cruise ships, airplanes and other common carriers.
Depending on where you travel, you may be subject to self-quarantine for 14 days when you return. You should consider this and your ability to work remotely before traveling.
We’re only allowing visitors who are considered essential into our offices and facilities. The determination of who is essential will be made by the appropriate ELT members.
Since information is the best tool for combatting the spread of COVID-19, we’ve been diligent about educating team members about the virus and ways to avoid catching it. We have an internal coronavirus page with access to videos and information about the virus, as well as the company’s efforts to address it.
We’re also implementing changes to help hourly team members, including:
- Relaxing attendance policies in our plants by eliminating any punitive effect for missing work due to illness.
- Waiving the 5 consecutive day waiting period for Short Term Disability benefits.
- Waiving the co-pay, co-insurance and deductible for doctor visits for COVID-19 testing as well as eliminating pre-approval or preauthorization steps.
- Waiving co-pays for the use of telemedicine.
- Relaxing refill limits for 30 day prescriptions of maintenance medication.
In order to protect the health of our team members and ensure we can continue to support our food production supply chain; many team members in our U.S. corporate office locations will work remotely through March 27.
To ensure business continuity, management will determine what critical business personnel will be asked to continue working in the corporate offices while others operate from home. Your manager will inform you of your status. Those who work remotely will be expected to work just as they do when in our corporate offices.
I want to remind you that COVID-19 is not considered a food safety concern. The CDC says “currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.” USDA reports “There is no evidence at this time to suggest that the Coronavirus is a foodborne pathogen.” According to a statement from the FDA, “we are not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.”
We have a cross-sectional team of leaders meeting frequently to stay on top of the coronavirus outbreak. Since it’s an ever-evolving matter, we will continue to adapt and adjust our approach as needed.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work together through this unique situation.