TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucson restaurants turning into grocery stores.
Mayor Regina Romero is encouraging this transition to help the bottom lines of local restaurants; permitting them to sell produce, paper goods, cleaning supplies and packaged food to customers.
"It was important for me to allow that creativity to happen, so that we can connect the restaurants and they’re need’s - because they are loosing a lot of money - with the community that needs groceries,” said Romero.
Her authorization is in line with Governor Doug Ducey’s executive order, issued on Wednesday. Even with carry-out and delivery options, Arizona restaurants are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"So if they have the capacity and the ability to be able to sell the provisions that they have, then I want them to do that,” said Romero.
This new rule gives all Tucson restaurants the green light to sell groceries without special permits from the city; but they do have to keep food safety and health regulations in mind.
"If it's frozen food, then they need to keep it at a certain temperature. If its food that's already made, they need to keep it at certain temperatures. So they have to follow the local Pima County Health Department regulations. But other than that, they don't need any special permit,” said Romero.
The decision was made in collaboration with the Tucson City of Gastronomy’s board of directors. This new authorization will be reevaluated every two-weeks.