BROOKS, ALTA. -- After reintroducing a second shift, a meat packing plant in the city of Brooks has resumed full operations despite the fact the facility is still considered by the province to be in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Norman Anover, a JBS employee, returned to work Thursday afternoon for his first shift in nearly a month.  

"A little bit nervous because I don’t know inside if it is safe," said Anover. "But I know JBS providing all the measurements to prevent the spreading of COVID-19."

In a statement released Thursday, JBS officials said the company is committed to ensure the safety of its workers.

"The health and safety of our team is top priority. We have been working closely with public health and labour officials each and every day to implement rigorous risk mitigation practices throughout tactility.

"We are slowly returning to two shifts as of today at the brooks facility. It is important to note that the move back to two shifts will not increase the number of employees in the facility at any one time."

More than 600 workers at the plant contracted COVID-19 including one of Anover's roommates. The positive case in his home forced Anover to take a leave of absence, self-isolate and get tested.

Anover's test proved negative and he's excited to return to work as he provides for his loved ones in his homeland.

"We’re just worried about our family in the Philippines."

A financial motivation to return is common amongst many JBS employees.

"I go here to work and provide a better future here for my family," said Kelvin Franco. "That’s why I go back to work even though there is a pandemic crisis happening here."

The reopening of non-essential businesses in Brooks and Calgary was delayed due to the significant number of COVID-19 cases in both cities. The province will announce on Friday whether businesses will be permitted to reopen beginning next week.