He said there were enough workers who could safely go to work and ensure the supply chain continued to churn.
At least 13 workers have died.
The Pasco plant's closure makes for a "complicated situation across the supply chain" as it means reduced food supplies and creates problems for farmers who have "no place for their livestock".
The company recently closed its plants in Waterloo, IA, and Logansport, IN. Other facilities, including a Smithfield Foods pork plant in South Dakota, and a JBS beef plant in Wisconsin, have also announced a temporary shutdown.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order to require meatpacking plants to remain open as the COVID-19 outbreak slows processing. The trend of closures spanning the beef, pork, poultry, and fish industries is pushing America toward a risky food supply shortage. What reopening Georgia looks like.
A senior White House official outlined the order on condition of anonymity to discuss it before its release.
Like lambs to the slaughter?
White House General Counsel Pat Cipollone worked with private companies to design a federal mandate to keep the plants open and to provide them additional virus testing capacity as well as protective gear.
Many have been forced to close.
Without strict adherence to safety guidelines - which are not now being deemed "mandatory" by OSHA - it's not hard to picture new outbreaks at factories, or resurgences of the virus in factories that shuttered but reopen prematurely.
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"In small communities around the country where we employ over 100,000 hard-working men and women, we're being forced to shutter our doors", wrote John H. Tyson, chairman of the board, in a full-page ad that ran in the New York Times, Washington Post and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sunday.
It warned that the food supply chain is breaking, and that various kinds of meat - such as pork, beef and chicken - could be impacted for a short period of time. "As a result, there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are now closed". Some farmers said it was too late because pigs had been euthanised already instead of the pork going to market.
Two of the nation's biggest pork processing plants are now closed.
Smithfield Foods shut down production at its plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, after an outbreak infected hundreds of employees. Still, lives are at stake, unions say.
The president told reporters he was working with Tyson Foods and would sign an executive order to solve liability problems that the food processing companies were facing.
The largest meat processing company in the United States has warned that the domestic food supply chain may be temporarily disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tyson Foods, one of the world's biggest meat producers, was forced to close factories in four United States cities last week as it tested workers.
Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO union, said: "Using executive power to force people back on the job without proper protections is wrong and risky".