Keeping the food supply stocked as America deals with the coronavirus is important.
That's why House of Raeford, also known as Columbia Farms, is operating on a normal schedule.
"House of Raeford Farms remains dedicated to making sure wholesome and nutritious chicken is available to your families. We take our mission to support our communities’ food supply seriously," reads a directive from the company.
House of Raeford runs the poultry processing plant on Sunset Boulevard in West Columbia. The company also has offices in Batesburg-Leesville. It is one of Lexington County's largest employers.
"House of Raeford Farms is part of a Critical Infrastructure Industry as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, and emphasized by the President in his Coronavirus Guidelines for America released on March 16. Therefore, we have a special responsibility to maintain our work schedules and continue providing chicken for our nation’s food supply," said Dave Witter House of Raeford Farms Manager of Corporate Communications and Sustainability.
Witter also said the company is taking other measures to ensure the needs of its employees are being considered. House of Raeford is relaxing attendance policies in its plants as it applies to missing work due to illness and childcare.
House of Raeford is also waiving some insurance costs and pre-authorization steps for COVID-19 testing.
And any associates who have symptoms of COVID-19, or live with someone diagnosed with the virus, will be placed on paid leave.
Inside the House of Raeford facilities, employees are practicing detailed sanitation procedures and oversight to prevent the spread of foodborne pathogens and the company has installed additional hand sanitizing stations.
The cleaning of breakroom surfaces, restrooms, door handles, and other areas receiving high traffic has been increased. Employees are encouraged to practice self-distancing and stagger breaks and lunch times so that smaller groups of employees are in common welfare areas.
House of Raeford is also educating company healthcare personnel, managers, and supervisors to recognize signs of COVID-19 symptoms in associates, and directing them to company or private healthcare providers for examination and treatment as necessary.