Flowers Foods, Inc. (NYSE: FLO), producer of Nature's Own, Wonder, Tastykake, Dave's Killer Bread, and other bakery foods, today announced that it has temporarily stopped production at its bakery in Tucker, Georgia to safeguard the wellness of its 255 team members. The bakery, which produces primarily frozen, non-retail specialty and foodservice bread and bun items, is expected to resume production on or around April 27, 2020.
The company made the decision, out of an abundance of caution, following an increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at the bakery as well as self-quarantining over the past few days. This increase occurred despite precautionary measures already in place, including wellness and recently-implemented temperature screenings for everyone entering the facility, enhanced daily sanitation and cleaning of commonly used areas and frequently touched surfaces, and required self-quarantining for those having close contact with a confirmed case or otherwise exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. The bakery is located in DeKalb County, which currently has the third-most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The action does not reflect on the quality or safety of the products baked at the facility. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with COVID-19 transmission.
Flowers will pay furloughed production employees and ask those employees to shelter-in-place until the bakery resumes production. The bakery will maintain a small crew for sanitation and operation of a cross dock. Those team members will continue to be required to pass wellness and temperature screenings and wear personal protective equipment at all times. The bakery also will maintain its enhanced sanitation schedule.
The company anticipates the closure will have only a limited impact on its ability to service the market as other bakeries in Flowers' network are expected to offset most of the lost production in the near term.