Slaughterhouse shut due to social distancing violations

A slaughterhouse in the Gelderland town of Apeldoorn has been shut on the grounds of public health after a number of employees were found to be transported to work on Wednesday without giving heed to social distancing, the emergency services region has announced.

The slaughterhouse, which belongs to meat supplier Vion Food Group, was forced to cease operations after groups of its employees were transported to the facility packed into eighteen vans, contravening the social distancing regulations in place to curb the spread of Covid-19. Police have since blocked all entrance to the facility using fences, multiple reports have confirmed.

"Only yesterday we were confident that the Vion would keep to all agreements. I then indicated that trust lasts as long as Vion keeps to the agreements. That is not currently the case," Ton Heerts, chairman of emergency services region, wrote in a statement on Wednesday.

Vion's Apeldoorn slaughterhouse closure comes a week after a similar incident forced the company's Groenlo slaughterhouse to close after 147 of its 657 employees were found to be infected with Covid-19.​ According to the emergency services region, an investigation into the health standards at the slaughterhouse has been kicked off by the GGD, with assistance by the fire brigade.

On Monday, Minister of Agriculture Carola Schouten warned slaughterhouses in the Netherlands that they would be closed if they cannot demonstrate that they are taking all necessary measures to ensure social distancing at their facilities. "It is the responsibility of slaughterhouses that employees can work safely, live safely and be transported safely. If not, these are the consequences," she said.

Vion announced on the same day its intention to transport employees using  spacious buses in order to comply, but had failed to do so by Wednesday morning.