New Pima County regulations not sitting well with all restaurant owners

Sure, restaurants have gotten the approval to open their doors and load up the plates of those dining in, but it hasn’t been as simple as some restaurant owners would have hoped it to be.

Since Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey gave restaurants permission to open, new protective measures have been put into place in Pima County, which the Board of Supervisors is hoping to make a requirement until the pandemic officially sizzles down.

It’s causing a bit of confusion and frustration in the culinary community, though.

Much like needing reservations for all dine-in services and the instruction to have “wellness/symptom and temperature checks for all personnel, vendors, contractors as they arrive on premises”  — meaning that an Uber Eats or DoorDash delivery driver would need to have their temperature checked before entering the restaurant.

“I hope the new measures are eradicated or implemented on all businesses that are open to the public,” said Travis Peters of The Parish. “I don’t think it’s fair to single out restaurants, bars, or breweries. I don’t think the Pima County Board of Supervisors meant to make this as difficult as it has become. They have a very hard job and are trying to navigate this impossible situation just like the rest of us.”

“We already do things that will keep people safe — both our employees and our guests,” said Michael Elefante of Mama Louisa’s. “If you’re going to require the industry to wear masks then you need to require all industries in the county to wear masks. We just want to be treated fairly.”

Now that the county’s recommendations, or in this case, requirements, are being enforced, this means that the restaurants who have decided to reopen could face fines — up to $500 — if they break the rules. Such penalties were not mentioned in Gov. Ducey’s initial outline and suggested that the state’s guidelines are simply recommendations for best practices.

The proclamation was released as a form of guidance for restaurants that plan to open their dining rooms.

After the discussion on Tuesday, May 19, the Board of Supervisors turned down a vote to change or cancel these regulations. Although, the topic isn’t over just yet.

Next up: The county is holding an emergency meeting on Thursday, May 21 at 2 p.m. and it’s meant to take a look at possible changes to how the regulations are enforced.

“They really just need to rescind the whole thing,” said Mat Cable of Fresco Pizzeria & Pastaria. “To be quite honest, I don’t think it was very well-thought-out. It’s a knee jerk reaction.”

“Restaurants live and die depending on how clean and sanitary they are. We all take it very seriously,” said Peters. “I’m hopeful that the Board of Supervisors will come to an agreement that helps restaurants, bars, and breweries instead of hurting them.”

At a very young age, Matt was gifted with the artistic ability to masterfully roll a burrito to the highest of standards.

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