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Why some major factories remain open while some are closed to due COVID-19

Local 5 answers your coronavirus questions.

At Local 5, we've promised to give you the facts, not fears about Coronavirus. Part of that involves answering your questions. 

We received multiple questions from viewers who wanted us to look into why some major factories, like the John Deere factory in Ankeny, are being allowed to remain open during this time

The answer comes from the United States Department of Homeland Security which has listed food and agriculture as critical infrastructure.

That includes any employee who is manufacturing agricultural equipment.

"No matter how much preparation we have beforehand, things just happen and break down and if John Deere isn't open for us to get parts, we are at a stand still," Randy Miller, a current board member for the Iowa Soybean Association, told Local 5.

In March, Gov. Kim Reynolds said agriculture employees are essential.

"They are part of the food supply chain and distribution, so we are really pushing employers to do self testing before they come into the factories - taking a temperature. If they're sick, stay home and making sure they know they can stay home if they're sick"

But now a different question, is what the governor said in march being applied to the public sector as well?

Three employees recently tested positive for Covid-19 at the Iowa Veterans Home and a union leader is alleging the home was negligent in forcing one of the employees to come to work after the employee knew they were exposed.

"The state should've sent this young lady home. She had a doctors excuse to go home and they totally disregarded that doctors excuse," Danny Homan, President of AFSCME Council 61, said. 

Local 5 will continue to follow that story as it develops and if you have any more questions, reach out to us at news@weareiowa.com or on Twitter and Facebook.  

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