BULLHEAD CITY — Bullhead City Council opted Tuesday to re-open city beaches on weekends but put emphasis on allowing access to residents.
There will be a limit of 400 non-resident vehicles allowed into Community and Rotary parks each day. There will be no limit to the number of resident vehicles allowed into the parks, though city staff said there typically is limited used of the parks on weekends by city residents.
Council member Mark Clark came up with the re-opening plan proposed to replace Mayor Tom Brady’s emergency proclamation that closed the beaches Friday through Sunday starting July 7.
Clark said the number of people in the Bullhead City area didn’t drastically reduce as a result of the closure of beaches and other points of access to the Colorado River.
At other recreation areas along the river such as Davis Camp and Katherine Landing, which are not under city control, “we’re seeing people crowded in together.”
Clark also made note of a study being conducted by Arizona State University looking at whether Vitamin D deficiency in people who contract COVID-19 can make the virus more virulent.
Council member Steve D’Amico asked for locals to have access. He said it would “be the only way I’d support” re-opening the parks.
Brady voted against the modified proposal brought to Tuesday’s council meeting by Clark and Council member Tami Ring.
Brady said he ordered the beaches closed because medical professionals have died of COVID-19, such as Katherine Hughart, a retired nurse who went back to work at Western Arizona Regional Medical Center to help in the emergency room.
Re-opening the beaches too soon could jeopardize progress and result in longer-term economic trouble.
“If we re-open too soon,” said Brady, “I fear (Gov. Doug Ducey) will close all non-essential businesses again.”
He also made note of the city’s 14,000 seniors and 7,600 children affected by COVID-19.
The seniors have been staying home and “living in fear” of the virus. Children need to return to school, he said.
Visitors to the city don’t simply take the virus back to their own communities but also spread it to people here when they patronize local businesses.
Brady did offer to reopen beaches after 4 p.m., but that wasn’t looked upon as favorably as D’Amico’s proposal.
The re-opening rules are in effect until Sept. 6.
Brady’s emergency proclamation that requires face coverings in all enclosed public places was narrowly upheld by a 4-3 vote. Council members Annette Wegmann, Ring and D’Amico voted against it.
Council members will revisit it Sept. 15.