With a population of fewer than 200, Oatman would be a veritable “ghost town” without its small businesses. Many of those businesses will close this week, however, following an order by Gov. Ducey.
The governor’s order became effective at 5 p.m. Tuesday, urging Arizona residents to limit time away from their homes except while working at or catering to businesses listed as “essential.” Many such businesses include healthcare, human services, grocery stores, pharmacies, charitable organizations, banks and media outlets. Not included, however, are Oatman’s abundance of gift shops and tourism-oriented commodities.
“We’re going to remain open, and restaurants are going to continue to provide take-out,” said Oatman General Store employee Tracy Sage last week. “The rest of the businesses here will close (March 31) afternoon. They’ve been listed as ‘non-essential’. With the governor’s stay-at-home order, business is going to depend on how many people are traveling … it could be a lot slower than we’re used to at this time of the year.”
As Gov. Ducey’s order takes effect, another order is scheduled to be voted upon by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors today.
The new resolution would allow local law enforcement officials to post signs in the Oatman area, warning visitors and residents against feeding the region’s wild burros in Oatman’s roadways. The signs would be placed at both entrances into the downtown oatman area.
“It definitely needs to be limited,” Sage said of the proposed resolution. “Feeding burros in the streets puts the burros in danger. If they get used to staying in the roads … we’ve actually lost a few of them that way, when drivers aren’t paying attention.”
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on the resolution at today’s meeting in Kingman.