Three employees at a large West Auckland chicken processing plant have tested positive for Covid-19.
The Tegel employees tested positive after visiting places of interest in Auckland, but the company's Henderson plant is not a location of interest, a spokesperson told the Herald.
"We are an essential service and we have been operating during all the lockdowns with extensive safety measures in place," the spokesperson said. "However, as we've seen on the daily news bulletins, this variant of Covid is very infectious."
In a message to Tegel employees on Friday, chief executive Egbert Segers said a worker at the company's Henderson plant was at a location of interest on August 14 and subsequently tested positive.
"Although he hasn't been at work in more than a week, we have taken a cautious approach and sent his team away to get tested and isolate until the results come back," Segers said.
"Obviously this is causing disruption for the Henderson team but it is the right decision to make."
The company's lockdown precautions already include physical distancing, masks, daily health checks "and reducing contact and crossover as practically as we can", the CEO said to employees.
Tegel has more than 2300 employees nationwide, including at factories in Taranaki and Christchurch. The Henderson plant receives chickens for slaughtering, packaging and distribution.
The Government announced 49 new Covid-19 cases in the community today. All of New Zealand has been in alert level 4 - the most stringent lockdown- since August 18. However, all regions south of Auckland are scheduled to go to alert level 3 tomorrow, allowing more businesses to operate.
Segers also thanked workers at the New Plymouth and Christchurch plants for stepping up to "help us manage the volumes". He also thanked the Henderson employees for weathering the disruption to their work schedules.
"We are offering all the support we can," he said of the employee who tested positive. "On a positive note his partner already returned a negative test."
The Tegel spokesperson said today that each of the workers' departments were temporarily closed as a precaution, and other staff were asked to test and self-isolate until receiving a negative result.
"We are upping our efforts to keep Covid at bay to ensure our production lines and distribution centres can continue to supply customers with Tegel product without further disruption," the spokesperson said.