With local eateries pushed to the edge by stay-at-home orders that limit their service to take out and delivery during the COVID-19 outbreak, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero announced today that restaurants can operate as pop-up grocery stores and start selling packaged food, fresh produce, paper goods and cleaning supplies to customers without asking for changes to their certificates of occupancy that allow them to operate.
The announcement comes on the heels of Gov. Doug Ducey's executive order yesterday allowing restaurants to begin selling supplies normally labeled "not for resale."
“Our restaurant community is at the heart of Tucson’s cultural, social, and economic fabric,” said Romero in a prepared statement. “I encourage all Tucsonans to continue rallying around our restaurants by ordering takeout, purchasing gift cards, and now, by visiting them for their grocery needs.”
The new policy will be reassessed every two weeks, according to Romero's office.
The decision to allow retail sales was developed in partnership with the Tucson City of Gastronomy Board of Directors. Restaurants will be required to collect sales taxes on the sale of goods, which must be labeled in accordance with new FDA guidelines.
“As a chef and Tucson City of Gastronomy Board President, I appreciate and support this change in public policy," said chef Janos Wilder in a press release. "It will promote public safety and allow our restaurants to be another needed resource during these trying time.”