TUCSON – On Wednesday, the Pima County Board of Supervisors passed a controversial resolution issuing instructions for the reopening of restaurants, pools, gyms, hotels, and resorts. The resolution passed in a 3 to 2 vote with Supervisors Ally Miller and Steve Christy voting in dissent.
Supervisors Ramon Valadez, Sharon Bronson, and Betty Villegas dismissed the concerns and recommendations offered by the Arizona Restaurant Association.
Valadez made the motion to approve the lengthy list of requirements. His motion was seconded by Villegas.
During the debate of the matter, Miller called the instructions “overly burdensome, inconsistent and discriminatory.” Miller pointed out several examples of what she and many business owners believe are draconian and unnecessary. As an example, the new rules require restaurants to post documentation (cleaning logs) online and at the entrance documenting cleaning of all public areas (inclusive of counter tops, door handles, waiting areas, etc.) at least every two to three hours.
“I believe the guidance from Governor Ducey was clear and that business owners will act responsibly to create a clean and safe environment for their employees and customers,” said Miller in a statement released after the meeting. “Now isn’t the time to impose costly and overly burdensome regulations on business owners as they struggle to re-open after the long shutdown.”
Miller went on to say that Pima County “should be here to provide guidance and support to assist small business owners who are the backbone of our economy vs threatening to impose fines during this exceedingly difficult time. We should be the cheerleaders to get Pima County up and running!”
At one point in the debate, Pima County’s Director of Public Health, Dr. Francisco Garcia stated that he had patronized a restaurant on Tuesday evening and was impressed with the level of care the restaurateurs had voluntarily taken to create a clean and healthy dining experience. Although his statement was elicited by those seeking support for the strict rules, it ended up bolstering Miller’s argument that businesses have a vested interest in making patrons feel safe.
After the vote, one small business owner quipped, “Valdez should have been more honest in making his motion and said, ‘all in favor of higher suicide and bankruptcy rates, vote aye, all opposed vote nay.'”