With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise rapidly in Mendota, Mayor David Boelk and the city council plan to declare a Local State of Emergency at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

“The COVID cases have spiked over the last three weeks,” Boelk said. “In fact, if you look at [Thursday’s] numbers, they just went up to 153 confirmed cases in Mendota. [Wednesday] that number was 111. It has really just spiked and gotten out of control.

"I think people have become way too lax.”

Businesses that fail to follow guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as set forth by the state of Illinois will be fined, shut down or both. Businesses with liquor licenses found violating policies will immediately have their license suspended for at least a week.

“We’re not going around and closing everybody down, but if they don’t follow guidelines and policies, we will,” Boelk said. “It’s a serious situation and people need to follow the guidelines.

"It’s pretty simple. It’s not tough to wear a mask, social distance, be in small groups and wash hands as frequently as possible."

Boelk said the city will monitor businesses and take action if they receive reports or see violations on social media.

“We’ll be paying very close attention,” Boelk said. “One good thing about a small town is word gets around. We’ll start watching and taking care of the situation.”

The order applies to citizens as well as businesses.

A person who refuses to wear a mask in a Mendota establishment and refuses to leave will be fined and charged with reckless conduct and/or criminal trespass. People convicted may be fined up to $500.

The order will be valid for up to 120 days, but may be terminated earlier.

“Basically, we were at 30 or less cases for the first three months,” Boelk said. “About three weeks ago, people started getting lax. Myself included. Everybody did, and it got out of control.

"We’re passing this executive order that can last up to 120 days if need be. Then we can look at an extension. We don’t want to do that. We hope as fast as it came, it goes away. We hope with good practices we can get this out of here.

“I’d like to ask everybody to please practice social distance, wear a mask when in public, wash hands as frequently as possible and do the job for the community, your family, friends and neighbors.”

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