Pima County makes changes to restaurant dine-in regulations

Pima county delay in restaurant regulations

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima County Board of Supervisors delayed a vote for two days on its controversial 17 point plan to re-open restaurants following the expiration of Governor Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order.

The county rules were more stringent than the guidelines handed down by the governor’s office. The county took another step in making them enforceable regulations rather than suggestions.

Some of the more controversial included fines, cleaning logs, reservations for all dine in services and temperature testing for all patrons, workers and vendors.

Following a call with the Metro Chamber of Commerce and several restaurant owners, the regulations were scaled back.

The fines were deleted, reservations for all dine in were eliminated and temperature testing went from being required to being “when possible.”

During a board meeting on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, many restaurant owners voiced their displeasure at the rules.

Sean Humphrey, who owns John Henry’s bar in Tucson asked the board “please rewrite them regulations of get rid of them because we can’t keep living like this.”

Taylor Carter, owner of Sentinel Peak Brewery said “restaurants are unfortunately being singled out in this.”

He called the restaurant owners the “little guys” but added the “little guys have a big voice.”

Many of the changes to the set of rules were made by District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller, who suggested the board take a couple of days to put the changes in writing and then come back in an emergency meeting to make them formal.

The board agreed by a four to one vote, with District 4 Supervisor Steve Christy the lone dissenting vote.

Christy favors repealing all the rules, playing by the Governor’s guidelines and see how things work out.

“What you’re saying to the restaurant community is Pima County does not trust the restaurants to do the right thing,” Christy said. “And that is the wrong approach to the whole issue.”

In approving the changes and the two day delay, Board Chair Ramone Valadez said “so understand part of the formula is opening their doors but the second part of the formula is makes sure the clients feel safe, that is a public health responsibility like it or not.”

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