Editor: I would like to respond to the article that you printed about the incident that happened at my restaurant last week.

When your reporter reached out to me, I told him I was too upset for an interview and today, I am ready to explain exactly what happened.

I did my homework and made sure that I was following all the rules. I presented “Taco Cruiseday,” “date night” and “tailgating” for marketing purposes and it clearly worked. They were all little groups or small families eating tacos and didn’t mingle with other groups.

Yes, the customers have to come inside to pay with Visa and to order drinks and wait in line while I made them. I also offered a free bottle of water with every sealed alcohol drink and served tacos in pizza boxes to discourage anyone eating inside while standing up signing their credit card receipt.

The county health inspector came in very angry and aggressive, yelling that I cannot advertise on Facebook “tailgating party”.

When I told him that I was in compliance and that all food was served to go, he stormed off and said that he was going to go get the sheriff. A little bit later, he came back with a deputy. The deputy asked for my ID and I gave it to him. The angry health inspector kept yelling about social distancing and how the customers were standing to close and he had pictures of them.

I said to the health inspector, “you heard me twice ask them to stand on the tape and respect social distance. What am I supposed to do when they don’t listen?”

That’s when the deputy said “Then you call me”

“You want me to call the sheriff on my customers for standing too close? Are you serious? And if I refuse?”

His reply: “Then you leave in silver bracelets”

They made everyone who was eating tacos outside leave and the health inspector said that not one bite of food was allowed to be eaten on my property. The people who had not yet received their tacos, were told that they had to get back in their cars and then they to line up like a drive through, stay in their cars, and immediately leave once served.

I closed my business over this. I am not sure for how long at this point. It’s not OK to make up rules and enforce them.

I was busy, too. I was selling tacos and trying to keep this restaurant open, food flowing through and accounts open so I would not have to open two giant restaurants, in different states, at the same time. I almost made it until this happened.

This whole situation is a disaster and it was very devastating to me.

This is a nightmare for the county and the sheriff as well, I am sure.

This country was founded on freedoms. The constitution is valid in Lake Havasu City. Civil rights are not exempt here either.

The people of the community are hurt by this as well. Each day that ticks by is more economic loss there. My hubby and I give back to the community. We have a long history and strong reputation for this. That’s who we are. Work hard. Stay humble. Give back. Take care of your people and lead by example.

Now, where do we go from here?

I deserve a huge apology from both entities as well as things need to change forever here so this never happens to anyone else again.

I have a unique perspective as I am the only restaurant owner here who had been through the coronavirus shut down as my Oregon restaurant was shut down first. The difference between the way it was handled by the two different health department is immense.

In Oregon, I was provided a time line on the first day, which is helpful to me as a restaurant owner so I know what food will hold in the freezer and what food will perish. They also sent a written guideline of all the rules and every restaurant owner is required to return their form acknowledging that I put Plexiglas up by the cash register, extra sanitation, etc.

This also helps me to educate my staff as I can give them all copies of the information.

The difference between the two is education, consistency, and structure. If the sheriff had educated his guys that they cannot enforce social distancing then the deputy would have told the inspector no when he went to go get him. If the health department had educated its employee with a guideline then he would have told the people who complained that I was in my rights to allow customers to enjoy their food in my parking lot.

I would prefer to make a permanent change in the system so this never happens to anyone else ever again there.

Melissa Lucas, owner of BlondZee’s restaurant

Desert Hills

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(7) comments

Safetyforall

Blondzee’s Restaurant. Mrs. Lucas,

Mrs. Lucas you chose the course you are on. How are constitutional rights violated, if nothing happened to you. You don’t like the way you were spoken to. You poor baby. I want people to feel sorry for me because someone spoke to me badly. LOL

1. Upon Oregon closing down you chose to fly to Oregon to simply hand out vegetables to your employees and then fly back to Havasu. Was this necessary? You went to an infected place in Las Vegas, and chose to get on an AIRPLANE? And then just repeat and just come back, and then you were right there serving food, with no thought of others. YOU SHOULD HAVE ISOLATED FOR 14 DAYS UPON RETURNING.

2. DID YOU GET TESTED BEFORE YOU RETURNED TO THE HAVASU? BEFORE YOU SPREAD AIRPLANE VIRUS? Or do you not care? Like you can not be affected by such a thing? People dying don’t matter to you?

3. You advertise a party. Nobody else did this. Many people were offended and thought this was wrong, and you think you have constitutional rights to do whatever you want. You can travel like you and infect as many people as you so wish. Right? What rights were actually violated, that made you flee the State?

4. You claimed to be working for employees; however you did not apply for PPP loan, and ceased to pay employees???? What are you after, a few more bucks in your own pockets? That’s is obvious.

Mrs. Lucas you seem to be Mentally ill with maybe severe OCD, and are perfectly willing to put others in harms way to make a few dollars.

You are a disgusting human being. Please do not come back to Havasu, and I personally am from Silverton, please stay away from there. Do the world a favor and just disappear. OR YOU SINCE YOU CLAIM TO BE A MILLIONAIRE AND SPENT 4 Million dollars here in Havasu, pay your employees you stupid FLAKE.

TucsonDave

I can't believe we are having this conversation at a time when the confirmed cases

are rising along with the death-toll more rapidly in Mohave County.

So here it is... If you want to go out and party, keep your business open, travel

about the country, by all means do so. It's all about your "freedom". Kiss, hug and

lick each others feet. You can't protect stupid so why try. After all stupid is stupid

and there is no greater testimony to it then actually electing Trump. Your freedom is more important then protecting healthcare workers who are putting their well-being on the line should you get the virus or grocery store workers who are risking their lives to keep feeding your face. Yes. It's about you...your money and your freedom... But what about the freedom of those who are on the frontlines trying to keep you safe...do they matter? You can't say you don't need them, because you do. And for those in business... You know if a customer does not follow the guidelines you aren't going to call them on it. You aren't going to risk losing that sale or alienating a customer. So by all means open the country up. The smart ones will stay home, wear their mask and gloves if they have to go out, and do their part to keep themselves safe and others as well. The smart ones will also remember where they are going to spend their money when this virus is behind us... Likely with those who were not so cavalier about the safety of others and their "freedom" to not be put at risk.

HavasuGuy

Remember folks, if you see people not social distancing, call the sheriff's office immediately!

HavasuGuy

I thought the sheriff said he wasn't going to be doing or allowing this kind of behavior to our citizens? Who was the deputy, I'd like to give them credit for this. Nazi Germany right here in Lake Havsu City... Gee, I wonder if the fact the owner is a female had anything to do with the deputy treating her that way.

LET'S GO BRANDON!!!

This business was wrongly punished and shame on the people who called the authorities. Look at the grocery stores for example. Although they deployed some lame rules people are still in close proximity of each other. The most egregious example is the self checkout corrals, the registers are crammed together. Anyway I hope this business is able to stay afloat.

X Ray

The problem with most state lock down rules for businesses is that they are arbitrary in designating a business as "essential" or "non-essential." Exposure to a virus can occur just as easily in an essential business as a non-essential business. They should both be allowed to operate as long as they follow public health requirements for social distancing.

Ms. Lucas' experience with the "angry and aggressive" public health inspector and the sheriff's deputy should outrage anyone that despises the misuse of the state's power and their trampling on the constitution.

When she asked, "What am I supposed to do when they don’t listen?” Then the deputy chimes in, "Then you call me." Ms. Lucas then said, "You want me to call the sheriff on my customers for standing too close? Are you serious? And if I refuse?”

His reply: “Then you leave in silver bracelets.” Really?

Unfortunately, lock downs are legal (but unusual) during pandemics in the US, but it's likely that a state's determining which businesses can remain open is illegal. They all should be allowed the opportunity to follow public health requirements with equal enforcement of the law.

simon1dog

The social distancing rules for businesses do seem to be hard to decipher around here. While she was being hassled, golfers were out on the local courses mingling as they always do. Boaters were doing the same out on the lake. I feel for this lady and others in the same boat (no pun intended).

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