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CORONAVIRUS: Local law restrictions in place

MOHAVE COUNTY – Various Mohave County officials have authority to enforce restrictions that have been implemented now that at least three coronavirus cases are confirmed in northwest Arizona. Deputy County attorney Ryan Esplin said Thursday that the county’s emergency declaration empowers the Board, Sheriff, Department of Public Health and the county attorney’s office to act in the interest of public health and safety.

“We have to understand that the virus is here and it’s probably been here for a while,” said Sheriff Doug Schuster. “We have to have a sane response to it. There is no need for panic. We’re going to get through this, and the bottom line is adhering to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines. They’re in place for a reason.”

An Executive Order by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey adopts the CDC advisory prohibiting gatherings of more than ten people at once. Inside dining is prohibited at restaurants and bars, theaters, stages and fitness facilities are under closure orders.

Chief Bob Devries said the Kingman Police Department has not yet been advised of compliance violations.

“I think, by and large, the community has been orderly in that regard,” Devries said. “You do have the hoarding that is going on, which is unfortunate. We would just like people to calm down. And just as all the stores have indicated, the supplies are there. Just allow them to catch up with the demand.”

Sheriff Schuster said his department is prepared should Governor Ducey impose a “Stay at Home” order as have some other states.

“People in Mohave County, for the most part, are understanding of the situation we’re in and we’re just asking everyone to avoid panicking,” Schuster said. “Panicking leads to the hoarding that we’ve seen. I know they’ve had some looting up in Nevada. We’ve not seen that yet, but we are prepared and if it gets to that point, we’re going to do the job that we’re trained to do.”

Chief Devries said there should be no concern about officers and a martial law mentality.

“Should an order for shelter in place occur, the Governor has already issued an order about what he considers to be essential services,” Devries said. “For those individuals who are out driving, we are going to assume that they are indeed moving to or from essential duties and we would not be out there making traffic stops to inquire as to the reason that they’re out in public.”

Schuster said his personnel will apply common sense and handle each matter while attempting to balance the interests of law enforcement and public health and safety.

“We all recognize that this virus is here and it’s going to get worse,” Schuster said. “We’re going to have to take things on a case-by-case basis. We certainly don’t want to come in heavy, so to speak, but in the same vein we do ask and expect people to comply with the law.”

  • – Dave Hawkins

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