JBS plant in Brazil allowed to reopen again after COVID-19 outbreak

SAO PAULO, July 3 (Reuters) - Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA has been allowed to reopen its chicken plant in the southern town of Passo Fundo after an outbreak of the novel coronavirus among its employees, the company told Reuters on Friday.

"JBS confirms the resumption of activities in Passo Fundo," the company said.

According to court documents seen by Reuters, judge Vania Maria Cunha Mattos understood that halting operations until an appeal is ruled could hurt economic activities.

"(It would) disrupt the entire production chain, with unequivocal damage not only to jobs - direct and indirect - but also to tax collection and leave the population in general short of supplies," the court document said.

Her decision comes after an appeals court in Rio Grande do Sul state overturned a lower labor court ruling allowing JBS to reopen the Passo Fundo chicken plant on May 21 after an initial closure on April 24 triggered by an outbreak of COVID-19. (Reporting by Aluisio Alves and Ana Mano; Writing by Gabriela Mello; Editing by Chris Reese)

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