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No issues so far with mayor, council's emergency order in Mendota

Mendota business owner: 'We can't go backwards'

So far, there have not been any issues with the emergency order issued by Mendota Mayor David Boelk and the City Council to help stem the uptick in COVID-19 cases in the city.

Mendota Police Chief Greg Kellen said his officers have not issued any tickets for violations of the order, which calls for Mendota businesses to follow COVID-19 protocols and residents to wear masks in establishments.

“For the most part, the community has done an outstanding job [of self-policing],” Kellen said.

Mendota business owners said they were fine with the new order.

“With the increase in cases, we have to have more restrictions to try to stop it,” said Joe Arteaga, who has owned El Zarape for 20 years and made the move to outdoor dining, carryouts and deliveries before the executive order.

Lutfie Aliu said Parkway Family Restaurant employees are happy to follow any policies to help fight the virus.

“I have no complaints about it at all,” said Aliu, whose son Esat owns the restaurant. “We’re going to do the best we can to stop this thing from spreading.

“We’re going to follow whatever needs to be done.”

Both Arteaga and Aliu said customers have had no issue with the city’s emergency order.

“I think a high percentage of customers do like it,” Arteaga said. “We can’t go backwards. We have to do whatever we have to do.”

Aliu said customers at Parkway follow the protocols to help keep the restaurant open.

“They don’t want to see us close, so they do anything I tell them,” Aliu said. “They don’t refuse to wear masks, and they try to keep their distance. We haven’t had any problems at all whatsoever.

“So far, nobody has gotten sick. We’re all OK. That’s the main thing.”

The city’s order came after a recent spike in cases in Mendota. The city’s ZIP code had 23 cases through the first four months of the pandemic but now is up to 174 cases as of Tuesday.

An outbreak of cases at Heritage Health has contributed to the spike of infection numbers in the city, with 85 positive cases through Friday among the facility’s staff and residents. The nursing home has confirmed six resident deaths.

The facility continues to follow CDC and health department guidelines, said Melissa Beaver, vice president of community relations and marketing at Heritage Operations Group.

Beaver said the community, including families of residents, has shown an outpouring of support for the nursing home as it works through the outbreak.

The Mendota Police Department put a flashing sign in front of the facility last week noting “heroes work here,” and restaurants have catered food to the facility.

“We want to thank everybody, the community, our families, our staff,” Beaver said.

She noted the facility’s staff will do what it takes to care for residents and help get back to normal.

• Derek Barichello contributed to this report.

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