TUCSON, Ariz. - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues hurting small businesses, city leaders and community members are working to bring outdoor dining and shopping to Fourth Avenue.
Bringing the possibility of outdoor dining and shopping to the popular Tucson street would help merchants welcome customers who might not feel safe enough to eat inside of a restaurant or shop inside of a store.
Maria Mazon is the Chef and Owner of Boca Tacos and Tequila, which is a restaurant of Fourth Avenue. She's one of a few restaurant owners who already has a patio apart of her restaurant.
“I’m blessed that I do have a patio and my patio is long," said Mazon.
When restaurants were allowed to reopen, with a smaller capacity, Mazon said she reopened indoor dining services, but soon reversed course on that decision.
“I was staffing the outdoor and the indoor and people were just going to the outdoor," she said.
Unfortunately, for many other shop and restaurant owners, this isn't the case.
“Right now we’re hearing that the fourth avenue merchants are hanging on by a thread and we’re trying to turn that thread into a rope," said Ward 6 Councilman Steve Kozachik.
Councilman Kozachik told KGUN9 he's been working with both the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association and shop and restaurant owners about making outdoor dining and shopping a reality.
“Let the businesses move their tables outside and everything’s going to be down with the social distance and limiting the quantity, we’re not trying to recreate the fourth avenue street fair," said Kozachik.
However, Councilman Kozachik stressed doing something like this will take lots of careful planning.
“If we can do it right, and do it right right out of the gate and show people this is doable we can perhaps even shut down a street for a period of time and do there retail out on the street," he said.
Currently, the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association is surveying merchants on the street that would like to take part. After this concludes, the association plans to submit a proposal to the city.