Lake Havasu City residents pushing for closure of lake amid COVID-19
PHOENIX — Amid the coronavirus pandemic that has forced the closure of many businesses and other tourism destinations, some Lake Havasu City residents are pushing for a closure of the popular lake that’s a spring break mecca for many college students.
A petition to close the lake in northwestern Arizona to help slow the spread of COVID-19 had gathered more than 2,200 signatures as of late Saturday night.
The petition was started by a local physician.
“The actuality of stopping traffic on the water is complex. We are cognizant of that,” Dr. Khamranie Persaud, an internal medicine specialist, said in a statement. “The mayor and our state alone can’t unilaterally do that. We’re just trying to raise awareness that something should be done to limit traffic along our waterway, especially given that we’re a tourist town.”
A counter-petition was started by Lake Havasu City firefighter Tony Rivello, asking Gov. Doug Ducey to keep the lake and Arizona waterways accessible.
More than 1,400 people had signed that petition by Saturday night.
“Our spring will quickly be turning to summer and the lake may be the only outlet for many families to escape the heat and confines of isolation,” Rivello wrote on the petition. “Together we can all do our part, flatten the curve and practice safe social distancing while leaving open spaces and waterways open and accessible.”
Lake Havasu City Mayor Cal Sheehy wants visitors to stay home “to protect the safety of our citizens and you during the COVID-19 pandemic."
“We look forward to inviting you back when the health and safety of our citizens is not at risk," Sheehy added. "Stay home, stay healthy, and stay connected and we will see you soon.”
Dan Roddy, manager of Lake Havasu State Park, told the Today’s News-Herald that visitor numbers seem to be slightly down from last year’s but guests have been generally well behaved and mindful of social distancing practices.
“Visitors are becoming more aware of the do’s and don’ts,” Roddy said. “Since the stay-at-home order was implemented, our patrons have been more understanding of the precautions. The best park patron is a well-informed park patron, now more than ever.”
The Arizona Department of Health Services on Sunday reported 2,269 coronavirus cases statewide with 64 known deaths — an increase of 250 cases and 12 deaths since Saturday.
All 15 of Arizona counties have diagnosed coronavirus cases.
About half of the state’s cases and deaths have been in Maricopa County, which includes most of metro Phoenix.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
President Donald Trump on Saturday approved Ducey’s request for a major disaster declaration.
The approval opens the door for the state to receive additional federal assistance.
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