Chow

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Here's Where to Celebrate National Burger Day Today!

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2020 at 10:00 AM

Fire N' Smoke's Farlow's Revenge—1/3 lbs. house-ground patty topped BBQ rib patty (yes, you read that right), bacon, pecorino & truffle cheese, grilled onions, spicy pickles, and chipotle sauce. - LINDY REILLY
  • Lindy Reilly
  • Fire N' Smoke's Farlow's Revenge—1/3 lbs. house-ground patty topped BBQ rib patty (yes, you read that right), bacon, pecorino & truffle cheese, grilled onions, spicy pickles, and chipotle sauce.
When it comes to fake national holidays it's hard to top the one that celebrates charbroiled ground chuck on a toasted sesame bun.

National Hamburger Day is upon the Republic and it is every citizen's duty to devour at least one at every meal today—including breakfast, especially if it's got a fried egg on top. While a burger is traditionally defined as a beef patty, fictitious lawmakers have loosened the definition allowing turkey, pork and meatless patties to be acceptable despite objections from the White House.

Here are a few places around the Old Pueblo that are more than willing to help you fulfill your civic duty:

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Board of Supervisors Revises Emergency Restaurant Regs

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2020 at 4:33 PM

“We’ve been struggling with this for some time now and all the while the restaurant business has been struggling even deeper, trying to stay in business while trying to understand with clarity what direction they’re supposed to be following,” said Pima County Supervisor Steve Christy, who voted against the regulations.
  • “We’ve been struggling with this for some time now and all the while the restaurant business has been struggling even deeper, trying to stay in business while trying to understand with clarity what direction they’re supposed to be following,” said Pima County Supervisor Steve Christy, who voted against the regulations.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Thursday to revise last week's emergency amendments to the county's health code for restaurants and bars after restaurant owners complained the new rules were too burdensome and Attorney General Mark Brnovich launched an investigation into the rules at the request of local GOP state lawmakers.

Today's vote was along party lines, with Democratic Supervisors Ramon Valadez, Sharon Bronson and Betty Villegas voting for the changes and GOP Supervisors Ally Miller and Steve Christy voting against them.

Some of the most significant revisions include removal of the $500 civil penalty, allowing bartop seating as long as six-foot distancing requirements are met and nixing 50 percent occupancy guidelines if physical distancing allows for higher occupancy.

“I think we have adequately captured all of the information that has been provided. I think our revision that we had Tuesday afternoon was based on a large part from the comments we’ve received here,” Pima County Administrator Huckelberry said before reading the revisions. “With all the notifications suggested I believe we would recommend to the board adoption.”

The board also clarified that parties—not individuals—must be spaced 6 feet apart to be in compliance with the proclamation. The county is still requiring parties not to exceed 10 or more people. Servers are not required to wear gloves and only have to follow current health code handwashing policies, instead of documenting each hand sanitization or glove change.

“The specificity of number (to a party) has been left out on purpose,” Huckelberry said. “Typically it’s two, but it could be (more) if we follow the same language in the policy, it’s up to 10 per party.”

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Pima County Board of Supes Will Meet Again Tomorrow To Hash Out Restaurants Regs

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2020 at 11:00 AM

Pima County Supervisors continues to grapple with restaurant regulations. - COURTESY PIMA COUNTY
  • Courtesy Pima County
  • Pima County Supervisors continues to grapple with restaurant regulations.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors yesterday delayed revising new regulations added to the county health code to help prevent a COVID-19 outbreak as the state reopens for business during the pandemic.

The Board of Supervisors will meet again on Thursday, May 21, to finalize an easing of the new restrictions.

The move to change the new regulations came after complaints from restaurant owners and an investigation by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who was asked to look into the situation by three state lawmakers.

The new regulations were first created last week during an emergency meeting last Wednesday, May 13. The Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to enact 15 of the 17 new guidelines recommended by the county’s Back to Business Bars and Restaurants Task Force as temporary regulations to the county health code. Supervisors Steve Christy and Ally Miller voted against the new rules.

State Sen. Vince Leach and state Reps. Mark Finchem and Bret Roberts filed a complaint with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office on Friday, May 15 calling for an investigation into Pima County’s actions. The state lawmakers say the county’s proclamation attempts to supersede Gov. Ducey’s May 12 executive order allowing dine-in service at Arizona restaurants as long as they follow the state’s recommended guidelines.


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Monday, May 18, 2020

Public Allowed to Attend Tomorrow's Board Of Supervisors Meeting

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2020 at 1:49 PM

Wear a mask if you're going to attend the Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting tomorrow. - COURTESY PIMA COUNTY
  • Courtesy Pima County
  • Wear a mask if you're going to attend the Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting tomorrow.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors are allowing the public to attend and speak at tomorrow's meeting but attendees will need to follow new COVID-19 guidelines.

Participants will need to undergo a wellness check and sanitize their hands before entering the hearing room. Anyone who has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher or exhibits COVID-19 or influenza-like symptoms will not be admitted, according to the county's new guidelines.

Attendees will also be required to wear a mask at all times and maintain a six-foot physical distance between each other while in the hearing room. Access will be limited to accommodate physical distancing requirements.

The county is expected to continue discussions on whether or not county employees will be allowed to continue telecommuting, in addition to other agenda items. During the executive session, the county officials will also discuss their legal response to a recently filed complaint with the Arizona Attorney General's Office regarding updates to the county health code during the pandemic.

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Friday, May 15, 2020

GOP State Lawmakers Seek To Overturn Pima County's Emergency Rules on Restaurants, Other Biz

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2020 at 1:18 PM

State Sen. Vince Leach: "It is unfortunate that Pima County is taking actions that are not consistent with the state."
  • State Sen. Vince Leach: "It is unfortunate that Pima County is taking actions that are not consistent with the state."
The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 along party lines this week to update health code regulations for restaurants and bars to reduce transmission of COVID-19, but three state lawmakers are asking the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to step in and force the county to rescind the rules.

State Sen. Vince Leach and state Reps. Mark Finchem and Bret Roberts say that the county is exceeding its authority in creating the regulations and have asked Attorney General Mark Brnovich for an investigation.

"We've seen throughout this crisis how important it is to balance health concerns with the need to reopen businesses and get Arizonans back to work," Leach said in a prepared statement. "Gov. Ducey and the Legislature have been working with experts to find that balance and determine the best course of action for the entire state. It is unfortunate that Pima County is taking actions that are not consistent with the state. The cumbersome regulations in its proclamation will not facilitate an easy reopening for businesses."

Members of the county’s Back to Business Bars and Restaurants Task Force said that while they helped create guidelines and best practices, they didn’t think their recommendations would become regulations with fines attached.

“We offered to help be a part of this from the very beginning and now we’re the ones being targeted with fines,” said Ray Flores, owner of El Charro and its related restaurants. “If it’s really about public health and human safety, then all businesses should have to go through this. This is not a restaurant problem, this is a human population problem.”

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Dr. Bob Clarifies New Health Code Enforcement and Lack of PPE for Reopening Businesses in New Video

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2020 at 4:59 PM


Dr. Bob England, director of the Pima County Health Department, clarified how the county health department would enforce the new guidelines approved by the Pima County Board of Supervisors yesterday.

"We are not going to have people sitting in the bushes while you eat," Dr. Bob said. "If there's one thing I've learned about our registered sanitarians and others in the year I've been here, it's that they want to help businesses do the right thing."

Education and assistance will be the health department's focus while the new regulations are in place, Dr. Bob said. The regulations will stay in place until the pandemic is declared over by Pima County's chief medical officer, Dr. Francisco Garcia.

"Actual enforcement of any kind is going to be a last resort," Dr. Bob said. "We want all of us to continue to do what we know we should to prevent transmission in this disease."

Dr. Bob also wanted to let businesses know that the county health department will be unable to assist them with procuring the necessary PPE to protect their staff. They don't have any to share and are still waiting on orders they placed two months ago.

"We can't give away stuff we don't have," Dr. Bob said. "We have a lot of material on backorder since March."

The county is expecting a large shipment of N-95 masks which will be going straight to health care workers, Dr. Bob said. He also cautioned against using an N-95 mask if you are not trained. Improper use could pose a risk for catching COVID-19, according to Dr. Bob.

"You need to be fit tested or at the very least trained to use it," Dr, Bob said. "If you put on an N-95 mask and you don't know what you're doing, you're going to draw air in around the side that's unfiltered."

Supervisors Temporarily Ease Regulations on Outdoor Dining for Unincorporated County

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2020 at 12:30 PM

BIGSTOCK
  • Bigstock
The Pima County Board of Supervisors adopted a set of temporary regulations to help restaurant owners expand their outside dining area while under new indoor occupancy restrictions during Wednesday's emergency meeting.

The county's new temporary regulations allow restaurants in the unincorporated areas "to use outdoor spaces for additional customer service, including the use of portions of parking lots, sidewalks, and vacant lots," according to the county's press release.

Supervisors made the concession after limiting indoor dining capacity to 50 percent as a part of the temporary addition of 15 new regulations to the county health code during the pandemic. The health code's new changes will be removed once the county’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francisco García declares the pandemic over.

"With the additional seating options, many restaurants should be able to reclaim much of the capacity lost as a result of physical distancing regulations that limit in-door seating to 50 percent capacity," according to the release.

Temporary shade, vacant indoor areas, and tent structures are also good to go by the county after owners submit a simple layout plan to Pima County Development Services to make sure the areas are cleared for dining service. The county is planning on providing same-day review and evaluation of temporary outdoor expansion requests in an attempt to help restaurants reach full capacity -or as close as possible - as quickly as possible.

Ward 6 Councilmember Steve Kozachik is also planning on proposing something similar to the county's plan during next Tuesday's city council meeting. Kozachik said his plan would be site-specific because "not all restaurants have space outside to allow for it."

Here are the county's new regulations on outdoor dining:

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

County Adopts New Health Code Standards In Response to Bars and Restaurants Reopening

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2020 at 2:12 PM


In a 3-2 vote, the Pima County Board of Supervisors approved to immediately update the county's health code to include 15 of the 17 new guidelines recommended by the Pima County Health Department during today's emergency meeting. Supervisors Ally Miller and Steve Christy voted against updating the health code.

"Restaurants and other industries have suffered terribly, have been devastated for many weeks now," Christy said. "Finally, they're open by the governor and in Pima County the first thing that hits these suffering businesses are burdensome regulations and the threat of fines. Does this say Pima County is open for business?"

The health department issued the new guidelines to help combat the spread of COVID-19 as bars and restaurants reopen to dine-in service on May 11. Christy's main beef with these new guidelines vetted by the county's Bars and Restaurant Task Force as a part of the Back To Business initiative is that Arizona Restaurant Association didn't get a chance to review the proposed regulations before the board voted today, although Arizona Restaurant Association Chief Operating Officer Dan Bogert is a member of the Bars and Restaurant Task Force.

"The task force that was created by the Back to Business in Pima County never had the opportunity to hear objections from I think the most significant entity, the Arizona Restaurant Association," Christy said. "Why are we moving so fast without input from such significant entities?"

Among the new protective measures the ARA, Christy, and Miller take issue with is health and wellness checks of all vendors and people making third-party deliveries before coming on-premise or starting a shift. 

"This one is very troublesome. I think it really is an overstep requiring (businesses) to do that for deliveries," Miller said. " I think the point (the ATA) made is, 'This is a violation. We're not medical workers so why should we be required to test everybody else's employees?'"

Christy asked for a "friendly amendment" to hold the vote until their regularly scheduled meeting next Tuesday. He would like to see business owners implement the changes without fear of repercussions if not followed perfectly.

"The county assumes right off the bat that business will do the wrong thing, that business can't be trusted," Christy said. "Governments need to get out of the way and allow businesses to do what they do best and that is to adopt new process changes."

Chairman Ramon Valadez declined Christy's request, saying the county did not have the time to wait because the county's new guidelines needed to be updated immediately to keep customers safe and build consumer confidence.

"Look, these conditions are not meant to keep restaurants out of business. The truth is the intent of this is when there are patrons in these restaurants they can feel certain that we are ensuring their safety as best as we can," Valadez said. "This is not a disease that discriminates. This is not a disease that is gone. The truth is we have a responsibility."

The Protective Measures are:

Minimum Employee, Vendor, Delivery Service and Patron health and wellness measures:

-Wellness/symptom checks, including temperature checks for all restaurant personnel, vendors, contractors, third party delivery service workers, etc. as they arrive on-premises and before opening of a restaurant.

-Cloth masks and gloves and frequent handwashing is required for all servers and restaurant personnel (except gloves not required for servers if hands are sanitized between servings).

-Any patron exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 is prohibited from entering the facility.

Minimum restaurant operation measures:

-Physical and electronic signage posting at the restaurant entrance of public health advisories prohibiting individuals who are symptomatic from entering the premises.

-Indoor occupancy limited to 50 percent or lower.

-Service by take out, reservation or call ahead seating only, including text and/or telephone notification of patrons requesting restaurant in-person service, allowing restaurant patrons to physical distance until called for service.

-Physical distancing of six feet minimum between tables.

-Clearly marked six-foot spacing marks throughout the restaurant, along entrances, hallways, restrooms and any other location within a restaurant.

-Parties no larger than 10 allowed per table and bar top seating is not allowed.

-Menus must be in a format that does not promote potential virus transmission e.g. menu boards, single-use menus.

-Elimination of self-service stations including salad bars, buffets, soda refill stations, and table-side food preparation.

-Expansion of outdoor service areas to increase physical distancing standards.

-Hand sanitizers available at entrances to the facility, restrooms and in employee work areas.

-Sanitize customer areas after each sitting with EPA-registered disinfectant, including but not limited to: Tables, Tablecloths, Chairs/booth seats, Table-top condiments and condiment holders.

-Post documentation cleaning logs online and at the entrance documenting cleaning of all public areas (inclusive of countertops, door handles, waiting areas, etc.) at least every two to three hours.

Additional measures to consider:

-Restaurant personnel should have a national certification in food safety and handling, as well as specific training in the prevention of COVID-19.

-Implement touchless payment methods.




 

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