TUCSON, Ariz. — As many are trying to adjust to a new normal, restaurants are navigating how to adhere to the governor’s new operating guidelines during this pandemic.
The Arizona Restaurant Association (ARA) said it worked closely with Governor Ducey on the guidelines restaurants must follow if they are to re-open at this time. Which Dan Bogert, the ARA’s COO said, are doable and the best options to keep customers and staff safe.
"In addition to the rules the governor put out, the ARA also published a document titled ‘Welcome Back to the Table’ that delves a little bit more into the options that operators can use to make sure that they are keeping people safe and operating within those rules,” said Bogert.
If a restaurant can’t, it simply still cannot open its dine-in option at this time. There are no modifications.
"Every restaurant should be able to meet the guidelines. The question is, are they able to meet the guidelines and still be able to function as a business unit?" said Bogert.
The association launched the Arizona Restaurant Strong Initiative, a relief fund of more than $312,000 for restaurant workers who find themselves out of work due to COVID-19.
"We encourage displaced restaurant workers to continue to apply. We are trying to process those applications within 72 hours and get the money in the employees' hand,” said Bogert.
This is specifically for employees; owners would be directed to apply for the federal assistance available.
Though many are struggling, Bogert believes the restaurant industry will bounce back stronger than ever after the pandemic.
"Not every restaurant is going to make the decision to do that right away and not every restaurant is going to be able to do that right away. But this is a resilient industry. And we're very confident we will come out of this COVID crisis stronger, better, and better able to serve our staff and our customers,” said Bogert.
Restaurant service staff are encouraged to visit www.azrestaurantstrong.com/apply to see if they qualify to receive funds and apply online.
Supporters can donate online at www.azrestaurantstrong.com/donate.