"What I'm concerned about is how we're going to physically distance and how we're going to deal with touchpoints that happen at restaurants," Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said. "But I'm willing to move in that direction for the benefit of small business owners in the city of Tucson."
Mayor Regina Romero said she is concerned about local restaurants potentially resuming dine-in service within the month in response to Governor Doug Ducey's aspirational timeline to reopen eateries in upcoming weeks.
"This is about how we prepare restaurant owners and their workers to reopen in a safe way," Romero said.
Gov. Ducey announced an aspirational May 12 date—or within a week or two thereafter—for restaurants to reopen if the state's COVID-19 testing blitz over this weekend provides reassuring results that the current stay-at-home order is slowing the spread of the virus.
"Really, what we're measuring are the cases, the symptoms, and the hospital capacity along with some data from testing. We just need some more data and information," Gov. Ducey said during Wednesday's press conference to extend the April 30 stay-at-home executive order to May 15. "I'm very hopeful. I wouldn't put out an aspirational date if I didn't think that it was achievable or that we wouldn't come within a week or to of it."
Romero said while she is concerned for the survival of restaurant owners, she wants to make sure the City of Tucson, Pima County, and restaurant owners will be working together to set expectations and keep the public safe. But Romero is uncertain about what new guidelines will be implemented to protect restaurant workers and customers alike before food establishments return to dine-in service.
"What I'm concerned about is how we're going to physically distance and how we're going to deal with touchpoints that happen at restaurants," Romero said. "But I'm willing to move in that direction for the benefit of small business owners in the city of Tucson."
Ultimately, restaurant owners will be the decision-makers on whether to offer dine-in service once Ducey gives the green light, Romero said. Ducey's March 30 stay-at-home executive order prevents municipalities statewide from taking further action after the order concludes.
"It's up to the discretion of the restaurant owners themselves. Just because there's some who are ready to open, there might be others that don't feel like that," Romero said. "Restaurant owners have to be ready and have to feel as though they can keep their employees, themselves and their customers safe."