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Tucson business owner urges community to follow rules so no curfew is enacted

Posted at 9:37 PM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-05 11:30:31-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Pima County Board of Supervisors decided to keep the curfew voluntary, but passed new mandatory measures that challenge businesses to go the extra mile to slow the spread.

“As long as it's something that’s going to help our community and keep us safer, we’re totally in line with following protocol to ensure that,” said Benjamin Vernon, Crooked Tooth Brewery Co.

Vernon co-owns Crooked Tooth Brewery Co. near downtown Tucson and said he’s willing to follow all of the new rules in place for businesses.

The new rules include a mandatory requirement for all businesses to report COVID-19 cases to the county. By Monday, the county plans to have a way to do that online.

“I think that’s a great idea. I have no problem with reporting COVID cases,” said Vernon.

Second, businesses must mandate all customers wear masks.

“We have masks at the door and what we do is -- oh hey, looks like you forgot your mask if you could please — We got one here or if you could get yours or whatever makes you most comfortable,” explained Vernon.

Luckily, Vernon has gone above the recommended guidelines already but that’s not the case for all business owners in Pima County.

That’s why starting tonight, the county is cracking down on those ‘bad actors.'

Owners are now only getting one warning, and if caught violating a second time, licenses could be ripped away.

Pima County’s health leaders say the number of businesses not following CDC guidelines to slow the spread is small.

“Understand that a majority of businesses in this community are bending over backward to do the right thing. We have some real heroes in this community. They are doing their damnedest to keep their employees and keep their customers safe,” said Dr. Francisco Garcia.

Vernon said he would much rather follow these new rules than be under a curfew and encourages the community to do their part to prevent that from happening.

“I beg and plead with all of the citizens of Tucson. Tucson is a strong community. I am a native from here. I’ve grown up here. I’ve watched this place grow into what downtown is, what 4th Avenue. If we all just do this together, we can beat this together.”

There are also new rules on events, including those hosting must give the county a deposit of $1,000.

County officials say that the optional curfew could become mandatory depending on what happens over the next couple of weeks.