’It sucks; we’re going broke.’ Tucson businesses react to news of potential curfew

Business React to Curfew

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - On Monday, Nov. 30, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero announced a potential 8 p.m. curfew to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Mayor and Council will vote on the decision at an emergency meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1. The curfew would go into effect that night at 8 p.m. and go until 5 a.m. with certain exceptions. It is set to last until Dec. 22.

  • During the specified times, this curfew would prohibit all persons from using, standing, sitting, traveling or being present on any public street or in any public place, including for the purpose of travel, with the following exemptions:
  • All law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics or other medical personnel, and any other emergency response personnel;
  • Persons traveling directly to and from work; attending religious services; commercial trucking and delivery services; caring for a family member, friend, or animal; patronizing or operating a business that is an Essential Function; seeking medical care or fleeing dangerous circumstances; engaging in Essential Activities; and travel for any of the above services or purposes;
  • Persons engaged in or traveling to perform or receive Essential Functions; and
  • Persons who are homeless.

“It is my responsibility to help protect the health and wellbeing and safety of Tucsonans,” said Mayor Romero during a press conference Monday.

The mayor’s curfew would not require businesses to close, but encourages them to have people be out at the curfew time or before. It also encourages people to simply stay home. There will be a grace period for those heading home or leaving a restaurant and they will not be cited.

For those open late, like the Buffett Bar, it’s not welcome news.

“I think we’ll probably shut down again. We’re not making any money as it is, and to cut off half the money we do make is….eh,” said Bar Manager Allan Bartels.

The bar just recently re-opened on Nov. 13 after finally getting the green light from the Pima County Health Department. Since then, Bartels said sales are down at all hours.

“Probably about a quarter in the daytime and half a night.”

Bartels says they did receive the Paycheck Protection Program loan but that ran out. So, they’d need more assistance to stay afloat. Romero said she is asking the council to consider additional economic relief, using CARES Act funds, and encouraging other leaders to follow suit.

″I would hope that Governor (Doug) Ducey and congress act as soon as they possibly can to provide additional economic relief to our country,” said Romero.

Still, there’s irritation among businesses within city limits since Pima County’s curfew is 10 pm. For Bartels and the Buffett, it feels unfair.

“Closing at 8, but then letting all the bars in Pima County stay open after 8, that will kill us,” said Bartels.

Romero said she is asking the Pima County Board of Supervisors to bring their time down to 8 p.m. as well, but there is no official word yet on that happening.

For now, businesses are counting down the hours until this potential curfew starts, hoping it’s not their final ones.

“This bar has been here for 87 years it’ll still be here but in what form I don’t know,” said Bartels.

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