Hundreds of jobs at Warrnambool's Midfield Meat have been saved under a lifeline thrown to regional abattoirs.
Midfield was closed on Wednesday and 1000 staff off work as the company complied with state government restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus.
But a leaked document from the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions says regional abattoirs will be treated differently to metropolitan meatworks.
Instead of having to reduce their workforce by 33 per cent each day, regional meatworks will be allowed to reduce the workforce capacity across a five-day week.
That means Midfield is likely to close one day per week.
Midfield Group general manager Dean McKenna said operations would be assessed on a day-to-day basis.
"We are complying with rules and regulations put in place by the state government," he said.
"There is no production today (Wednesday) at the abattoirs.
"We have stood down 1000 workers. We are following all the rules and regulations as required by the government."
But Mr McKenna said the meatworks would operate on Thursday.
He said under the new regulations, Midfield could operate "as long as our weekly employee numbers are reduced by 33 per cent".
"What that means is we can man our chains but we cannot work everyday of the week," Mr McKenna said.
In a leaked document, the department said you can have 80 per cent of your workforce on site four days a week and 15 per cent on the fifth day, to equal 67 per cent across the week.
Mr McKenna said there was "still a lot going on to reason with the regulators".
"We are still working through the processes," he said.
"We are not whinging. We understand there are many businesses that are way worse off than us."
Midfield last week said it was on the verge of closing its doors because of the government-imposed restrictions.
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