Hi, friends. We know that things seem to be changing faster than we can all keep up. And even though we can't tell you about fun events happening right now, we still want to help you engage with and love our community. That just looks different now than it did one week ago (which, can we just say, is totally crazy).
For local, breaking news, check out the Arizona Daily Star's coronavirus updates. The coverage is succinct, helpful and free — there's no cost to read stories related to the coronavirus. We'll include some of those updates here, but for even more information, please go to tucson.com.
On this page, we plan to share news updates, how local businesses and organizations are responding and what we can do to support each other through this. ❤️
Thursday, March 19
*Written in PJ pants for the third day in a row sorry/notsorry*
• The Santa Cruz River Farmers' Market lives on as a drive-through market, hosted by the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Food bank staff are running the no-touch market at the Mercado San Agustin, where you can pick from a short list of pre-bagged fruits and veggies. Anyone who needs veggies is welcome. Go here for more information.
• Starting March 23, Tucson Unified School District will deliver grab-and-go breakfast and lunch via 12 different bus routes and at 113 stops throughout the city. Each bus will remain at the designated stop or bus bay on its route for 10 minutes and any child (whether or not they go to school in the district) 18 and under can get a free meal. Children must be present to get their meal. Go here to see all the routes, stops and times. You can find a big list of other free meal locations offered by other school districts here.
• Pivot Produce has launched a program to deliver regular produce boxes full of locally-grown veggies and sustainable foods right to your home. They also have an option for you to donate a produce box so the families who need it can get one discounted or for free. You can also add coffee, eggs and other add-ons. Go here for more information.
• Park Tucson has established free, takeout parking zones on Fourth Avenue, Main Gate Square, downtown and in the Mercado district. Parking in these zones is free and limited to 15 minutes to allow as many people as possible to support the local businesses in these areas. Go here for more information.
• Gov. Doug Ducey agreed late Thursday, March 19 to activate the National Guard to assist grocery stores and food banks with restocking shelves. He also halted elective surgeries and closed all bars, gyms and movie theaters in counties with confirmed cases of COVID-19 (as of Thursday evening, Pima County now has seven confirmed cases).
• Thursday morning The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted to join the city of Tucson in forcing the closure of some businesses in unincorporated areas, limiting restaurants to drive-through and take-out starting at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 19. Then Ducey announced that restaurants in affected counties can no longer offer dine-in service, starting close of business Friday, March 20 — effectively shuttering all restaurant dining rooms in Pima County.
• The Pima County Board of Supervisors vote establishes a misdemeanor charge for owners that don’t adhere to closure requirements and also forces the closure of other businesses in unincorporated areas like gyms and movie theaters.
• Marana Mayor Ed Honea's emergency declaration goes further than the city and county's: He is also ordering all beauty salons, barbershops and nail salons to close until March 31, starting Thursday, March 19 at 8 p.m.
• The Parish restaurant announced that it's doing half-off takeout meals for healthcare workers, fire department employees, police, EMT's, grocery store workers and musicians with canceled gigs and music venue employees. Call them at 520-797-1233 to see if you apply. View a menu here.
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• Downtown Tucson Partnership put together a food and business guide listing of the many downtown businesses where you can buy gift cards, order food for take out or delivery, shop retailers, take online fitness classes and support arts, culture and non-profit organizations. Find the guide here.
• Reid Park Zoo, which is temporarily closed, will be offering membership extensions for any new or current memberships equivalent to the duration of the closure. Learn more here.
• Catalyst, the collaborative arts space created by the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance in the Tucson Mall, is closed until at least March 31. Look for the launch of a virtual art gallery and a livestream channel for concerts and classes in the coming weeks, according to an email newsletter. Go here for more information.
• The Tucson Convention Center donated perishable food and drinks valued at around $700 to the Gospel Rescue Mission after they had to postpone events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The donation included two cases of potatoes, three cases of liquid eggs and one case of shelled eggs, seven pounds of provolone cheese, three pounds of Swiss cheese, and four cases of orange juice.
• Starting Thursday, Cardenas will reserve its first hour of shopping for Seniors and first responders, joining a handful of grocery stores that have changed their policy to support the shopping needs of older adults. Seniors and first responders can shop between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. every day. The store, with a Tucson location at West Irvington Road and South 16th Avenue, will be open to the general public from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
• Southern Arizona Goodwill locations will remain open for now but with temporary hours. Goodwill is also enhancing its cleaning measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Donation centers will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Store hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting Friday at Casa Grande and starting Sunday at all other locations. Goodwill's outlet location on East Irvington Road and South Campbell Avenue will limit occupancy and adhere to social distancing guidelines.