Many Lake Havasu City businesses are now facing financial crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic this week.
With two cases now confirmed in Mohave County, all bars, theaters, indoor gyms and fitness clubs must close immediately under mandate by the Arizona Governor’s Office. All restaurants will be required to prohibit on-site dining and may only provide pick-up, delivery and drive-through service.
According to Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Krueger, the order could be devastating for Havasu’s service industry.
“Every business is at risk,” Krueger said. “This has never happened in Havasu before, and we don’t know how this will affect us in the long term.”
According to Krueger, the Chamber of Commerce is recommending that all of Havasu’s business owners and workers understand what resources may be available to them.
Some of Havasu’s businesses have already felt the financial impact caused by coronavirus in Mohave County. Kokomo nightclub and Martini Bay bar, both traditional draws for Havasu’s thousands of annual spring breakers, have already suspended all spring break functions for the duration of the crisis.
According to London Bridge Resort Assistant General Manager Kristina Gallo, layoffs have already taken place at the businesses, although she was unable to say how many as of Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s totally impacted our business,” Gallo said. “Business has slowed down, but we’re focused on our community, team members and guests. Our goal is to get everyone back to work soon. We’re taking care of our employees, and making sure they’re getting all the services they need to get until that happens.”
Cafeterias at nursing homes, hospitals, soup kitchens and facilities that provide meals to the needy will not be affected by the governor’s mandate, but the Mohave County Health Department recommends that residents take strict measures to ensure social distancing and appropriate hygiene to prevent the virus’ spread.
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Mohave County Supervisor Gary Watson said that compliance with the governor’s order would be voluntary on the part of county residents.
“Think about saving the lives of people you see on a daily basis,” Watson said. “We’re appealing to people’s common sense, dignity and voluntary compliance.”
According to Lake Havasu City Police Sgt. Tom Gray, businesses found not in compliance with Ducey’s executive order will be contacted by officers. Officers will attempt to explain the governor’s order to business managers, and attempt to gain compliance through education to protect the Havasu community.
“We anticipate that the businesses of Lake Havasu City will be responsible to the community to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” Gray said. “We will also work closely with the Mohave County Health Department for businesses that are out of compliance with the governor’s order.”
But as of early Wednesday evening, several Havasu bars remained open for business, with rooms and parking lots filled with patrons. According to Lake Havasu City Manager Jess Knudson, Lake Havasu City Police Officers identified several businesses Wednesday that were not in compliance with Ducey’s executive order. Officers advised business owners and managers to close their doors, and Knudson does not foresee any resistance.
“I don’t expect any of these businesses to be open or out of compliance by (Thursday) morning,” Knudson said.