PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Governor Kristi Noem says she anticipates activities in the next couple of days at the Smithfield Foods plant.
She says she spoke with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue about South Dakota’s pork producers and getting the plant back online. She also talked with Smithfield management on Thursday about reopening the plant in Sioux Falls, which has been closed to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.
As of Thursday, the state Department of Health was reporting 853 cases in Smithfield employees and 245 cases in their close contacts. Those numbers have been consistent since Tuesday of this week.
Noem says the focus is on making changes to protect employees at the plant while also ensuring the country’s food supply isn’t hurt.
Noem says she took her request for flexibility in how to spend money from the federal government to President Donald Trump. Noem is hoping to use some of the funds to fill in for lost tax revenue in South Dakota.
Department of Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman Department discussed unemployment claims filed in South Dakota. She says there were 5,389 new intitial claims filed for unemployment benefits for the week ending April 25.
She says they have been able to start paying out some Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims, which she didn’t think would happen for another two weeks.
Another change is with the Back To Normal plan from Governor Noem, some businesses are recalling employees back to work.
Hultman noted that if you’re recalled to work and refuse to go back, it could impact your benefits. She says if you’re not comfortable or nervous about returning to work, that is not a valid reason to not return to work as far as unemployment insurance is considered.
New executive order
Noem has signed an executive order for that suspends regulations related to vehicle titling, registration, and renewal. The EO also suspends the one-year probation requirement for law enforcement officers and 911 telecommunicators to complete their Academy course. Once the document is posted online, we will add it to this story.