Amid the United States’ patchwork of regional regulations and guidelines related to the Coronavirus, the question of authority is frequently raised. In the latest challenge to state authority, a meat processing plant in New Mexico is challenging state policy by refusing to close after several employees tested positive for COVID-19. The plant owners say President Donald Trump’s Executive Order means they’re right – but who has jurisdiction here?
New Mexico, New Rules
Directing the state calls for all the state of New Mexico Companies to suspend operations for 14 days If four or more employees test positive for coronavirus within two weeks. Stampede Meat says, however, that this policy is disproportionately hurting companies with large numbers of employees, which are likely to have more cases. They say that within two weeks, more than 500 employees worked at the plant in question.
11 employees The test results are said to be positive During the last two-week period, this led to the state health department temporarily shutting down the meat plant.
The company refuses, claiming that the continuation of its operations poses no risk to public health, and its shutdown leaves employees without jobs and wastes large quantities of meat. Stampede Meat supplies meat products to companies like Denny’s and Applebee’s.
When in doubt, Sue
The reasons for their refusal to stop work come from Executive Order April 28. In matter, Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to ensure meat and poultry production plants would continue to operate, and to avoid shortages as there are many reserves across the country.
The Defensive Production Law The president is allowed to direct private sector companies to create specific goods. Trump has invoked the law twice before.
Stampede Meat is suing New Mexico in an attempt to keep its factory open, arguing that they have the right to continue operating thanks to the Defense Production Act invocation.
I look forward
Although it is currently unclear what the outcome of the lawsuit will be, federal and executive authority generally take precedence over statewide policies. However, a federal judge rejected the plant’s request to temporarily halt the shutdown.
Cases of COVID-19 have increased rapidly across the country in recent weeks, prompting renewed calls to act to stop the spread of the epidemic. Despite President Trump’s reluctance to impose a national lockdown to contain the Coronavirus, President-elect Joe Biden will likely adopt new policies when he takes office next year. Until then, Trump’s Meat Industry Executive Order will likely remain in effect, so be sure to fill your burgers now.