Tucson restaurant returns to takeout only, experts say others may follow suit

Restaurant to go back to take-out only

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - With climbing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Arizona, some businesses are now taking matters into their own hands.

Even though there is no statewide mandate, starting Thursday, June 18th, BK Carne Asada and Hot Dogs will be back to curbside and takeout only.

“When we first reopened [on May 16th], we were so happy to get back to business,” said Owner, Benjamin Galaz.

It was back to work with new guidelines in place. Plexiglass was installed in between tables, capacity was cut by 50 percent, facemasks and gloves were ordered for employees and a strict cleaning policy was implemented.

Even with these changes, Galaz is concerned.

“When you see the news and you see ‘Oh there is this amount of people sick’ and sometimes you don’t believe it’s real,” he said. “But when you have a good friend that lost his sister [on Tuesday] and you have a friend who has a family member who is sick, that’s when you start thinking ‘This is more serious than [I thought]’.”

So, he made the tough decision to take a step back in the phased re-opening.

“It’s really hard,” said Galaz. “A lot of [employees] are concerned they are going to have less hours or they are going to lose their jobs. I’m pretty sure customers will support us in a better way.”

Longtime customer, Leo Lopez, says as long as BK Tacos is selling, he’s buying. Even if that means waiting in his car.

The food speaks for itself. I highly recommend the Sonoran hot dogs,” said Lopez. It’s a good feeling that they care for everybody’s safety.”

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce says more restaurants may follow suit.

“Based on [Gov. Ducey’s announcement allowing local governments to implement mask-wearing policies] and what’s been happening with the reporting of the surge [of COVID-19 cases] that we are seeing, especially making national news, I think a lot of people are going to be evaluating what they are doing,” said Isabel Georgelos, the Interim President & CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “We may feel ‘Oh my gosh, we are headed backwards’, but the truth is, the balance is between commerce and safety and health.”

Which is why Galaz encourages business owners to take a hard look at their own policies.

“I don’t want to hear about one of my employees or customers getting sick,” he said.

He hopes returning to takeout and curbside only reduce the transmission potential of the virus due to long lines at the doors.

There are two BK Carne Asada & Hot Dogs locations in Tucson (one on 12th Ave near Irvington Rd and another on 1st Ave and Glenn St).

For information on hours, click HERE.

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