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El Milagro Closes Its Tortilla Factory Temporarily After Worker Dies from COVID-19

Over the weekend, the Chicago tortilla maker informed its employees that the plant would be closed for two weeks

A tortilla truck.
El Milagro in Little Village.
Christopher Dilts/Eater
Rebecca Flint Marx is the editor of Eater at Home. Her areas of expertise include home cooking and popular culture.

Following the death of one of its employees from COVID-19 complications, tortilla maker El Milagro has closed its Little Village plant on Western Avenue for two weeks. A popular provider of tortillas to restaurants and grocery stores, El Milagro informed its employees of the closure over the weekend, the Tribune reported.

Last week, the company learned that one of its longtime sanitation employees had died from complications of COVID-19; two other workers have tested positive, and four more have exhibited symptoms.

The plant will be deep-cleaned and sanitized by an outside janitorial business; while it is closed, El Milagro said in a letter to its staff, employees who were scheduled to work during the plant’s closure will continue to be paid for 40 hours a week.

Founded by Raul Lopez in 1950, El Milagro sells tortillas, taco shells, and tortilla chips and uses them at its own restaurants. The chips are sold in stores in familiar brown paper bags that stick out at grocery stores in a sea of snacks from larger brands like Doritos and Rick Bayless-founded Frontera Foods. El Milagro has expanded to four taquerias and two tortilla factories. The Pilsen factory remains open. Among the best-selling tortillas at Chicago supermarkets, they are also available nationally.