Toennies, a company that has a meat processing facility in Guetersloh, halfway between Dortmund and Hanover, temporarily shut down the factory on Wednesday afternoon.
Gereon Schulze Althoff, director of quality management and veterinary services at the company, said the factory has a number of foreign workers who have traveled in recent weeks and may carry the virus with them. He said workers and their welfare were priorities for the company.
However, he acknowledged that maintaining social distance was not easy at the facility. “Our plant has not been built for a pandemic,” Schulze Althoff said at a press conference on Wednesday.
The local government in Guetersloh closed all child care centers and schools starting Thursday, but did not force general closure. “The Guetersloh district clearly surpasses the critical mark of 50 new infections per 100,000 population in seven days,” the city’s crisis team said in a statement.
A federal agreement between German states says that if the new infection rate exceeds 50 per 100,000 people in seven days, authorities should consider implementing measures to deal with the outbreak.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Wednesday that the ban on major events in the country would be extended until at least the end of October.
Speaking after a meeting in Berlin with the prime ministers of 16 German states, Merkel urged that the country move towards easing further coronavirus restrictions. Merkel said that the rules of physical distance would still apply in Germany.