We need to keep pressure for a 14 day closure with widespread testing upon reopening. 3 days is not enough time to ensure this doesn’t continue to be a hotspot for spread.

Smithfield Foods will close its Sioux Falls plants for three days, the company announced Thursday.


The decision to close comes less than 24 hours after Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdom confirmed that more than 80 employees had tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The company will suspend operations in a large section of the plant on April 11 and completely shutter the Sioux Falls facility on April 12 and April 13.

“Smithfield is taking this action out of an abundance of caution for its 3,700 employees in Sioux Falls, a portion of whom have tested positive for COVID-19,” said a news release sent to the media Thursday morning.


This move is anything but “an abundance of caution” and weeks too late to protect our local community here in Sioux Falls.

“I’m not a fool,” said one employee when asked about the bonus that was being offered before the temporary closure. “Five hundred dollars isn’t worth our lives.” https://bit.ly/2Rqy3To

Lets make our voices heard and help protect our community members and ourselves! 

Dakota Rural Action urges everyone to please call and demand a 14 day closure with full pay for hourly workers. These employees are our community’s most vulnerable and they are depending on the collective community voice to help protect their health and wellbeing. This is 190 out of 352 or 54% cases in Minnehaha county. (These numbers from Smithfield don’t include family members or close contact related to workers. DOH officials said they’re working on contact tracing. Six of the 190 patients have been hospitalized.)

Screening processes should be implemented upon reopening. We cannot allow our most at risk community members to be collateral damage for profit by large multinational corporations with the blessing of our local South Dakota leaders.

This is from our friends at SD Voices for Peace

We urge concerned community members to act and make their  voices heard:

  1.       Contact Smithfield EVP of Public Affairs and Compliance, Kiera Lombardo at
    757-365-3000 or emailklombardo@smithfield.comand respectfully ask for the following:
  • Assure that the plant in Sioux Falls, SD suspend operation for 3 weeks, offer full wages to all employees during this suspension of operations and fully sanitize the plant to assist in flattening the curve at Smithfield;
  • Assure that all employees be immediately tested for COVID-19 and ensure that all households of those who have tested positive in the past through the future are tested too AND cover testing costs if there is no health insurance coverage;
  • Assure that all employees be given hazard pay, not a $500 incentive called “Responsibility Bonus” to continue to work through a pandemic if they show up to work through the rest of the month! Reports received are indicating that employees who are sick are showing up to work to receive this “Responsibility Pay”.
  • Assure that if an employee has a temperature or any symptoms of COVID-19, the employee  be quarantined at home for 14 days. Reports indicate that those with doctor’s notes saying “high risk” are returning to work and employees with temperatures of 100.3 have also returned to work; and
  • Assure that all employees are shown an instructional video in all major  languages spoken at the plant on how to properly sanitize and how to mitigate risk of exposure upon returning home to families.
  1.       Contact the Mayor of Sioux Falls at 605-367-8800  orptenhaken@siouxfalls.organd ask the following: 
  • Assure testing of all employees at Smithfield covering costs if employee does not have health insurance coverage;
  • Assure testing of all Smithfield employee households where employee has tested positive, covering costs if employee does not have health insurance coverage;
  • Because employees of Smithfield will not be eligible for Families First Coronavirus Protection Act,offer monetary employment assistance for those who have tested positive and been exposed to COVID-19 until no longer contagious and can return to work;
  • Track incidences of racism and bias directly related to communities of color and COVID-19 bias;
  • Encourage Sioux Falls Police Department to classify crimes against communities of color with evidence of COVID-19 bias to be classified as a hate crime; and
  • Provide transparent information on the location  of the “hot spots” in Sioux Falls, the steps being taken to test those exposed, the contact tracing measures are taking place, and the way in which those in high risk exposure are being notified.

You can also sign this online petition asking Smithfield to close for two weeks and pay employees.

Change.org Petition for temporary closure


Contact information is below: 

Kiera Lombardo is the EVP of Public Affairs and Compliance at Smithfield: (757) 365-3000 klombardo@smithfield.com

Sioux Falls City Council 

Office of the Mayor

Paul TenHaken

224 W. 9th St.

Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Office Phone: (605) 367-8800

Office Fax: (605) 367-8490


Erica Beck, Mayor’s Chief of Staff ebeck@siouxfalls.org

City Council Office

Carnegie Town Hall

235 W. 10th St.

Sioux Falls, SD 57117-7402

Council Phone: (605) 367-8080

Council Fax: (605) 367-7801


District #1 (Southwest)

Marshall Selberg

7512 S. Denton Ave.

Sioux Falls, SD 57108

Voicemail: (605) 367-8819


District #2 (Southeast)

Rick Kiley, Vice-Chair

3809 S. Lisanne Ave.

Sioux Falls, SD 57103

Voicemail: (605) 367-8102


District #3 (Northwest)

Greg Neitzert

2024 S Shaw Ave,

Sioux Falls, SD 57106

Voicemail: (605) 367-8109


District #4 (Northeast)

Pat Starr

5305 Lake Placid Cir.

Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Voicemail: (605) 367-8809


District #5 (Central)

Curt Soehl

235 W. 10th St.

Sioux Falls, SD 57117

Voicemail: (605) 367-8110


At-Large Council Member

Christine Erickson

1109 S. Hyanns Port Ln.,

Sioux Falls, SD 57106

Voicemail: (605) 367-8818


At-Large Council Member

Janet Brekke

235 W. 10th St.

Sioux Falls, SD 57117

Voicemail: (605) 367-8808


At-Large Council Member

Theresa Stehly

1621 S. Van Eps. Ave.

Sioux Falls, SD 57105

Voicemail: (605) 367-8806




Minnehaha County Commissioners 

County Office

415 N. Dakota Ave.

Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Phone: (605) 367-4206


Cindy Heiberger

25499 467th Ave.

Hartford, SD 57033

Phone: (605) 951-7684


Jeff Barth

3605 E. Raven Oaks Cir.

Sioux Falls, SD 57103

Phone: (605) 371-0154


Dean Karsky

415 N. Dakota Ave

Sioux Falls, SD 57104

(605) 367-4206


Jean Bender

8502 E. Saddle Creek Rd.

Sioux Falls, SD 57110

Phone: (605) 582-7740


Gerald Beninga,

4205 S. Lewis Ave.

Sioux Falls, SD 57103

Phone: (605) 339-1921



US Congress

U.S. Senator John Thune


U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510


Washington Office:

John Thune

U.S. Senate SD-511

Washington, D.C. 20510

Phone: (202) 224-2321

Fax: (202) 228-5429


Sioux Falls Office:

5015 S. Bur Oak Pl.

Sioux Falls, SD 57108

Phone: (605) 334-9596

U.S. Senator Mike Rounds


U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510


Washington Office:

Mike Rounds

4 Russell Senate Courtyard

Washington, D.C. 20510

Phone: (202) 224-5842

Fax: (202) 228-5765

Sioux Falls Office:

320 N. Main Ave. Suite A

Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Phone: (605) 336-0486

U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson


U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515


Washington Office:

Phone: (202) 225-2801

Fax: (202) 225-5823

Sioux Falls Office:

Phone: (605) 275-2868


Local Sioux Falls Reporting on developing Smithfield situation: