Downtown Tucson restaurants reopening after months of closure

30 restaurants have outdoor cafes
Updated: Oct. 4, 2020 at 10:41 AM MST
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Many restaurants in downtown Tucson are back in business after shutting their doors months ago due to COVID-19. The Downtown Tucson Partnership said about 80 percent of businesses have reopened.

“Downtown Tucson is clean, is safe and it’s ready for you," said Kathleen Erickson, the president and executive officer of the Downtown Tucson Partnership. “Fall is here and the city’s best places to enjoy outdoor dining and drinks are back in business,”

Enjoying dinner and drinks does look a bit different nowadays but so far people seem to be adjusting well.

“Five months ago you couldn’t imagine everyone in a mask and now it looks like it’s normal," said David Slutes, the entertainment director at Hotel Congress. "Everyone is distancing themselves well and if you ask them and remind them to put a mask on, no one is fighting you. It’s nice.”

Hotel Congress has changed up how they do business.

“We host every table, there’s no bar scene," he said. "It’s a different style of service but I think it’s going to work.”

More people are enjoying their food on patios. Penca, a restaurant on East Broadway, is one of 30 restaurants downtown that now have an outdoor café.

“We just want to make people feel as comfortable as humanly possible," said Karl Goranowski, the director of operations at Penca. "We’re sanitizing the restrooms and common areas every 15 minutes and we’re using disposable gloves whenever possible.”

All restaurants with the “Ready for You sticker” have met a list of safety and health guidelines from the Pima County Health Department.

“People really do want to stay safe but still experience culture and the things that make Tucson great," Goranowski said.

The Downtown Tucson Partnership said downtown will soon have a free walk-up COVID-19 testing site that will be open four hours a day three days a week.

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