John Deere suspended production of construction and forestry equipment at its Dubuque, Iowa, plant on 30 March following confirmation that an employee had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
During the suspension, the facility will undergo a thorough disinfection, with employees returning to work via staggered start-ups. Those currently working remotely will continue to do so, said the company.
The news follows Deere’s earlier announcement that it would continue to operate through COVID-19 as an essential business as defined by Homeland Security.
“Keeping farmers and those involved in infrastructure and energy production up and running is essential to food production and our ability to support critical infrastructure needs”, said Deere.
“Today, our employees were identified by the Department of Homeland Security as essential critical infrastructure workers, defined as ‘the essential workers needed to maintain the services and functions Americans depend on daily and need to be able to operate resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response.’”
The company has put in place international and domestic travel restrictions, staggered shift schedules to enable social distancing, remote and flexible work arrangements for those employees not required in factory operations, and enhanced cleaning and sanitation regimens at its facilities.
“We’re continuing to monitor guidance from regulatory bodies, including state and federal officials, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization”, said Deere.
“Our efforts to keep our factories running is to ensure we’re able to keep our customers operational with the parts, service, finance, support and equipment they rely on us for—including farmers and contractors who are critical to the well-being of our nation and world.”