Tucson favorite Mi Nidito reopens after employees test positive for COVID-19

Posted at 4:28 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 21:10:12-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — MI Nidito is back open again for takeout this weekend.

The legendary Tucson Mexican restaurant closed for three weeks, following an outbreak of COVID-19 among its staff.

"We had a few employees test positive," said Mi Nidito co-owner Jimmy Lopez. "Once I found that out, I closed the restaurant."

Lopez says closing was an easy decision, after learning three employees tested positive.

But it did mean another financial hit to the restaurant recently nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Hospitality.

Now, that hospitality includes a twice-a-month deep cleaning of the entire restaurant.

Mi Nidito is also strictly following new health guidelines.

"We're going to follow all of the guidelines to the T," said Lopez. "That's why we're doing the to-go this weekend, so that all of my staff can get used to those."

Lopez says a federal payroll protection loan is helping Mi Nidito. He has been able to keep 31 of his 45 employees working while the restaurant is closed.

"All the time that I've closed, it adds up to a lot of money," Lopez said. "This loan is really going to help out. Even if they don't forgive the whole amount, whatever is left, I will make good use of it."

Even with the loan, Lopez says it could be two years before Mi Nidito financially rebounds from the multiple closures.

"I think we'll be okay, I think we'll be okay. Thanks to Tucson for supporting us."

Lopez says Mi Nidito will open for dine-in June 10, after his staff has gotten used to the new safety protocols.