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Small town of Wickenburg defies Ducey’s stay-at-home order

Customers leave after eating at the Horseshoe Cafe and at Bedoian's Bakery & Bistro Friday, May 1, 2020, in Wickenburg, Ariz. A few small businesses reopened in defiance of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's decision to extend a statewide stay-at-home order for another two weeks in. The Gov. extended the stay at home order in an effort to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Customers leave after eating at the Horseshoe Cafe and at Bedoian’s Bakery & Bistro Friday, May 1, 2020, in Wickenburg, Ariz. A few small businesses reopened in defiance of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s decision to extend a statewide stay-at-home order for another two weeks in. The Gov. extended the stay at home order in an effort to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Warnings from police and Arizona health officials didn’t stop Debbie Thompson from serving food Friday inside her small-town Horseshoe Cafe.
“They have just told me that I have to shut down. I am not. They will have to arrest me,” Thompson declared to the cheers and applause from several seated customers.
Though she was not arrested, Thompson later received a call from the state Department of Health Services telling her to stop violating Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order that’s designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Thompson and other business owners in Wickenburg, a town of 6,300 people about 65 miles (105 kilometers) west of Phoenix, decided to reopen in defiance of Ducey’s order. Those who disregard it could face fines, though it wasn’t immediately clear if any businesses were cited.

Customers smile and cheer as Debbie Thompson, owner of the Horseshoe Cafe, informs them that she is violating the State's stay at home order by allowing guest dining at her restaurant Friday, May 1, 2020, in Wickenburg, Ariz. A few small businesses reopened in defiance of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's decision to extend a statewide stay-at-home order for another two weeks in. The Gov. extended the stay at home order in an effort to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Customers smile and cheer as Debbie Thompson, owner of the Horseshoe Cafe, informs them that she is violating the State’s stay at home order by allowing guest dining at her restaurant Friday, May 1, 2020, in Wickenburg, Ariz. A few small businesses reopened in defiance of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s decision to extend a statewide stay-at-home order for another two weeks in. The Gov. extended the stay at home order in an effort to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Thompson, 65, said her restaurant can’t survive on only carry-out orders until the restrictions expire in two weeks. The Horseshoe Cafe normally makes $700 to $900 a day. In the last six weeks, it has been lucky to make $100 a day, she said.
“I’m a widow trying to do my best here,” Thompson said as she served about eight customers. “I believe our governor needs to get out and stay in the rural areas like we are. He needs to walk these streets and see the devastation it’s caused on these businesses.”
Ducey has extended his stay-at-home order, which applies to dine-in restaurants, through May 15 but said he will allow retailers big and small to reopen with precautions.
State officials published guidance Friday for retailers that reopen, including maintaining social distancing, limiting the number of people allowed in stores and widespread cleaning. They still recommend delivery or curbside options — even if customers are allowed inside — closing fitting rooms at clothing stores, screening employees for symptoms and offering face masks to workers and customers.
At Trader J’s, a Southwest-themed gift shop in Wickenburg, JoAnn Zimpher had masks and hand sanitizer ready for customers but wasn’t following all the state’s guidelines. Her son owns the shop, which was allowed to reopen, unlike Thompson’s restaurant.
Zimpher said if businesses disregard Ducey’s order, that doesn’t mean their owners have a disregard for life.
“We’ve never asked the people that want to stay isolated to come out,” she said. “The people we have encountered are thanking us for opening. They said, ‘It’s really good you take a stand.'”
The Republican governor let retailers open because he said there are signs the spread of the virus has slowed in Arizona. However, there’s no clear indication that deaths and new cases are trending down.
The state on Friday reported an additional 10 deaths and 314 confirmed infections, for a total of 330 deaths and nearly 8,000 cases.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. It can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death, for some people, especially older adults and those with existing health issues.
Meanwhile, a death row inmate became the third in the state prison system to die from COVID-19. A federal public defender whose office represented Alfonso Raymond Salazar says he died at a hospital Thursday of virus-related complications.
Salazar was sentenced to death in the 1986 killing of 83-year-old Sara Kaplan in Pima County. Federal public defender Dale Baich said seven other death row prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19. ___
Terry Tang reported from Phoenix. Associated Press writer Jonathan J. Cooper contributed to this report.

3 comments

  1. Sadly this establishment as well as others have been open without any regard for distancing protocol or safety. jut their own survival.

  2. Take a look at Sweden. They did very little quarantining and they are just fine… and their economy isn’t RUINED!!!! We’ve had FLUs before that killed 40 and 50,000 plus Americans and we didn’t shut down and wreck our nation and run over Constitutional rights. The death rate of COVID is VERY likely padded, since hospitals get paid to claim a death is covid based. Many people are reporting that false death certs are taking place. It’s time to RE OPEN and let people build up immunity. The majority of people who are diagnosed with covid survive. The people at high risk and the elderly can be sheltered, but those in positions of power need to STOP abusing that power, and stop arresting people for living.

  3. I like to give each of us credit for making informed decisions. If you feel at risk, stay home. This is the United States of America and a great price has been, and continues to be, paid for our freedom.

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