Mi Nidito, 1813 S. Fourth Ave., had been doing takeout since April 1 before announcing its temporary closure.

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One of Tucson’s oldest Mexican restaurants is temporarily closed after an employee was diagnosed with coronavirus.

“It’s unfortunate and I’m very sad and upset that it got into our place,” said owner Jimmy Lopez. “I took the precautions and shut it down.”

The move comes as many restaurants in Tucson have reopened for modified dine-in. Mi Nidito, 1813 S. Fourth Ave., had been doing takeout since April 1.

Lopez, the third generation to run the family’s nearly 70-year-old downtown restaurant, hopes to reopen in early June and will continue doing takeout only, saying he wants to see how things go before incorporating dine-in again.

“This thing is around and you don’t know in God’s name who has it,” he said.

Last week was the second time that Mi Nidito has hit pause since the coronavirus pandemic erupted in March.

The restaurant announced on March 18 that it was closing for two weeks “to keep the public and our employees as safe as possible.”

That move came two days before Gov. Doug Ducey on March 20 ordered all restaurants to end dine-in services and convert to take-out only as part of a broader stay-home executive order.

Ducey’s order expired on May 15 and businesses in Arizona were allowed to reopen on May 16, although restaurants and some retail and hair salons were allowed to reopen early last week.

Mi Nidito has been in business since 1952, one of Tucson’s oldest, continually operating Mexican restaurants.

Earlier this year, it was nominated for a 2020 James Beard Award for outstanding hospitality.


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Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch