Cedar Meats reopens

The Melbourne abattoir, hit by a coronavirus cluster, reopens

Coronavirus
PLANT REOPENS: The abattoir at the centre of Victoria's biggest coronavirus cluster has been given the green light to reopen.

PLANT REOPENS: The abattoir at the centre of Victoria's biggest coronavirus cluster has been given the green light to reopen.

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It's back to work for staff at the Melbourne abattoir, hit by a COVID-19 outbreak.

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The Melbourne abattoir, at the centre of Victoria's biggest coronavirus cluster, will restart all aspects of its operations on Thursday, May 28.

Staff, who had been medically cleared by the Department of Health and Human Services, attended a return to work information session at the Brooklyn site on Wednesday.

"I am really looking forward to having the Cedar family back together," Cedar Meats general manager Tony Kairouz said.

"As a management team we have spent the last few weeks working closely with DHHS and WorkSafe to ensure that we are returning in the safest possible manner.

"Our aim is to provide a safe and healthy environment, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic."

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The Cedar Meats COVID-19 cluster saw a total of 111 infections, made up of 67 staff and 44 contacts.

At the time of the outbreak, 350 staff were employed at the abbatoir, which processes sheep and goats for export markets.

The first Cedar Meats worker to contract coronavirus was diagnosed on April 2.

The plant was closed, on May 1, for deep cleaning and infection control.

Mr Kairouz said the control measures would be regularly updated to reflect changes resulting from government announcements, directions of the Victorian Chief Health Officer and best practices for the sector.

"About 300 staff will return to work this week," he said.

DHHS had provided Cedar with a list of all staff that are cleared to return to work.

"I'd personally like to thank both DHHS and Worksafe for being available to us at all hours and answering the many questions we have had about how we move forward," he said.

'"We have done everything possible to provide a safe work environment for our staff.

"The safety and wellbeing of all people will always be our number one priority and inherent in that is a happy place to work and thriving business that provides security of income to our people and their families."

A WorkSafe spokesman said checks on measures to ensure workers maintained social distancing, wherever possible, avoided sharing work tools and equipment, had access to personal hygiene products and were provided with appropriate personal protective equipment were contuing.

"WorkSafe is working with DHHS to develop appropriate industry guidance for managing and controlling COVID-19 in the workplace and is also working with DHHS to manage incidents of COVID-19 where they occur in a workplace,' the spokesman said.

WorkSafe inspectors were actively monitoring worksites.

Every initial workplace visit included an assessment of COVID-19 preparedness, in line with expert advice from the Department of Health and Human Services and recommendations made by the Victorian Chief Health Officer.

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