Although Governor Doug Ducey greenlighted yet another portion of Arizona’s small businesses to be reopened on May 11th, hundreds of owners were not tempted. In fact, they want the rest of their colleagues to follow their concerns.
More than 250 business owners of Arizona have signed a so-called “Too Soon” letter, saying that they did not feel safe going back to work this week. Gov. Ducey had previously announced that restaurants and coffee shops were allowed to offer dine-in services again, as long as they follow the COVID-19 safety guidelines: no more than 10 people per group of customers, regular health checks for staff, social distancing, and sanitizing of all the venues. Beauty salons, barbershops, and cosmetology centers were allowed to open as well.
However, the “Too Soon” letter says that statistics prove how “things are not normal” presently in the U.S. It opens with a heartfelt statement: “We, the undersigned, are small business owners: restaurateurs, chefs, bar owners, service providers & retailers. We are united in our decision to not reopen our dining rooms and shops to the public at this time. It’s just too soon.”
“We feel proceeding incautiously with the reopening of businesses will worsen human suffering in our communities and prolong the negative impact this pandemic is having on small businesses & the economy,” the letter reads.
“We await guidance from credible epidemiological experts & researchers for a reopen that is safe for our customers and staff.”
The small business staff members were also allowed to sign the letter.
A number of Arizona bars and restaurants opened on Monday are trying to provide the demanded safety measures, but many reports claim that it’s not that easy. According to the Arizona Republic, large crowds of more than 50 people gathered in the CASA Tempe bar. They were not wearing masks or implementing social distancing.
According to KOLD News, many restaurants on the “Too Soon” list are still offering take-out, pick-up, and delivery services, but that’s it for now. As Sally Kane, the co-owner of The Coronet restaurant, says: “We really want to open. We just don’t feel we can right now. I can’t reopen and go down in a ball of flames.”
Tucson Democrat Mayor Regina Romero showed her solidarity with the “Too Soon” movement on May 11th by tweeting: “We are all eager to come together again, but protecting the health and safety of ALL members of our community must come first. It’s just #TooSoonArizona.”