In an act symbolic of Route 66’s emergence from the coronavirus pandemic, Angel Delgadillo announced over the weekend he would reopen his gift shop today in Seligman, Arizona, to travelers after a two-month closure.
In a short video announcing the reopening, the 93-year-old Delgadillo said “we will be wearing a mask for you, and we hope you will wear a mask for us” to help slow the spread of the disease. At the end of the video, he puts on the mask.
Hours at Angel and Vilma Delgadillo’s Original Route 66 Gift Shop will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. It will allow only 10 people at a time in the store, and it’s encouraging visitors to call (928) 422-3522 to make an appointment so store employees can be well-prepared to greet them when they arrive.
Here’s the post on Facebook announcing the reopening:
On a semi-related note, Arizona’s governor imposed a one-week curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. because of George Floyd-related unrest. However, many smaller cities along the Route 66 corridor have announced they’re not going to enforce the order. Also, most Route 66 travelers won’t be out and about during the curfew.
It makes sense for Delgadillo to wear a mask; he’s in an age group that’s vulnerable to a virus that has killed at least 103,000 people in the U.S.
Angel also carries a lot of credibility on the Mother Road. He was one of the first who advocated for Route 66’s value in the late 1980s and became a key driver in its renaissance.
Masks have been a controversial issue, but a consensus has emerged in recent weeks from governors of all political persuasions that wearing masks is a way to reopen the U.S. economy and keep control of the virus.
A friend who operates a microbrewery in New Mexico was a skeptic about face coverings but was converted after talking to a physician about it:
A cloth face covering is like any other sort of air filter. Filters are designed to let a certain amount of air through while filtering out larger particulates, they don’t remove all particulates. Respiratory viruses generally travel on moisture droplets which are larger than the virus itself. If you cough or sneeze into the air, or even when you are talking, you are expelling “bioaerosols”. A cloth covering does two things: slows the velocity of the particles (i.e. also shortens the field of how far they go) and traps a good deal of them before they can reach someone else.
Don’t believe me? Sneeze, cough, or spit and watch what happens. Now, do the same thing into a single layer bandana stretched across your face. See the difference? This is elementary physics.
To a lesser extent, that face covering can help you to keep from contracting air-borne particles which can stay in the air for up to 30 minutes, it is still no guarantee but better than no face covering.
Today also is the day when all restaurants in New Mexico are allowed to have dine-in eating at 50% capacity. Motels in the state also are allowed at 50% capacity after several weeks at 25%. Museums also are reopening.
Tough restrictions remain in Cibola and McKinley counties, including Gallup, in New Mexico’s west side because coronavirus has hit those areas hard.
Arizona’s stay-at-home order expired May 15, but capacity at restaurants there remains limited.
California remains under a stay-at-home order, and Los Angeles probably will still be under one until mid-July. Restaurants reopened in approved counties. Masks are required in the state.
Illinois remains under a modified stay-at-home order, but some stores and state parks reopened on a limited basis. Chicago has been a COVID-19 hotspot for weeks.
Missouri has been mostly open, though some stores must limit the number of customers inside. St. Louis was a coronavirus hotspot several weeks ago, but it appears to have quieted down.
Oklahoma recently added bars to the list of places that could reopen, though gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited. Restaurants can operate, but with strict sanitation practices and social distancing. Some cities require masks.
Kansas prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people unless social distancing can be maintained. Bars and restaurants must preserve a 6-foot distance between tables, booths and barstools.
Texas expanded restaurants to operate at 50% capacity last week. Museums and libraries could reopen, but interactive components remain prohibited. Amarillo remains a hotspot for coronavirus, mostly because of spread at meatpacking plants in the region.
The Route 66: Business Reopening Guide on Facebook also maintains a frequently updated PDF guide.
(Image of Angel and Vilma Delgadillo’s Original Route 66 Gift Shop in Seligman, Arizona, by Karlis Dambrans via Flickr)