The company first became aware that one of its employees had contracted COVID-19, following an admission to Sunshine hospital for an unrelated matter on Monday 27 April, 2020.
“Since that time we have followed the advice of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and been thankful for all its advice and support,” General Manager Tony Kairouz said.
“On Wednesday 29 April, 2020 we were informed that four of our staff had contracted COVID-19. All staff worked in one area of the plant,” he said.
“DHHS worked diligently to endeavor to arrange onsite testing for our 350 staff, however, it wasn’t possible and in the interests of time it was more efficient for staff to access nearby testing facilities.
“From the time we became aware that one of our staff had contracted the virus we had kept our staff closely informed. By Thursday 30 April we mandated to all staff that they had to get tested for COVID-19.
“We worked closely with DHHS and by the end of the day Friday 1 May, all staff had been sent for testing.
“Cedar Meats is a proud multi-generational family-owned business that employs up to 400 people. We have built the business from one butcher shop in Melbourne’s North more than 35 years ago. We have done this by treating our staff like family and everyone in our business – our suppliers, our customers, our community, with respect.
“For the past few days our focus has been 100% inward – on closing down the processing side of our business, taking care of staff and animal welfare. We have in no way sought not be transparent with the Victorian community. We are deeply saddened that there is speculation that we have sought to hide from something that is not of our making – it is an outbreak of a worldwide pandemic at our plant.
“We look forward to continuing to work with DHHS and will fully co-operate with any requirements as they eventuate.”