TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Pima County Board of Supervisors has taken its list of 17 suggestions for re-opening restaurants and other businesses, and made them into regulations.
By a 3-2 vote, along party lines, the county codified the suggestions on a temporary basis, making them mandatory and punishable by fines if they’re violated.
They can be found here.
The first two violations will come with education and a warning. A third violation can come with a $500 fine.
The county passed the regulations just prior to the state’s stay at home order, which is being allowed to expire on Saturday.
Governor Doug Ducey issued a series guidelines for reopening. The county says it just made them more specific.
According to the Pima County Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francisco Garcia, the county is seeing a reduction in cases and deaths.
“We are headed in the right direction,” Garcia said. “I think two weeks down the road, we will feel much better about saying that in an affirmative and positive way.”
Even with a reduction in cases, the board voted to pass a more stringent set of regulations than recommended by the state.
“I think we need to be as stringent as possible to start,” said Betty Villegas, District 5 Supervisor and a Democrat.
The Republicans on the board were hoping for a softer touch.
“The counties approach with regulations right off the bat, that business owners will do the wrong thing,” said Republican and District 4 Supervisor Steve Christy. “That business can’t be trusted.”
But Board Chair Ramone Valadez says the board will revisit the regulations in two weeks to see if they need to be changed or tweaked.
“These conditions are not in any way, shape or form meant to keep them out of business,” he said.
He said the more stringent regulations are meant to ease the minds of customers who must decide whether to go out in the first place.
“The truth is,” he says. “When there are patrons in the restaurants they can feel certain that we are assuring their safety as best as we can.”
Governor Doug Ducey’s office says it is reviewing the board vote.