NORTH SIOUX CITY, SD. — Weston Foods has temporarily closed its Interbake Foods cookie and cracker plant in North Sioux City after an employee at the facility tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) on April 22.

“We took immediate steps to temporarily close the facility,” Weston Foods said. “In accordance with our COVID-19 protocols, we will not reopen the facility until it has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, and, in accordance with Siouxland District Health, contact tracing has been completed. Any employees who worked closely with the individuals who tested positive will be asked to self-isolate and monitor for any symptoms.

“As we address positive cases in our facilities, our focus is completing the standard steps to ensure the health and safety of our employees, while also working to bring operations back up swiftly and smoothly.”

Weston Foods said employee and food safety always have been a priority for the company, but during the COVID-19 pandemic the company has stepped up its efforts “to a new level.”

“Teams across our company are working every day to take the needed actions, including enhanced sanitation procedures, social distancing protocols, pre-shift temperature checks and limiting facility visitors to keep our frontline teams safe while they help keep North America’s food supply up and running,” the company said. “Early on, we implemented a pay protection program, so our frontline employees are able to stay home if they are ill and not have to choose between their income and their health.”

Weston Foods said it is prepared to handle any positive cases in its facilities and has implemented a three-point response plan that includes an orderly close of the facility, a detailed risk assessment and action plan, and ongoing, transparent communication with employees.