“We want to open these meals up to everyone, not just people who have been displaced by this pandemic,” said Welcome Diner Manager Shanna Rosing.

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.  

For local, breaking news, check out the Arizona Daily Star's coronavirus updates

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. ❤️

March 23

• The Loft Cinema changed its well-known marquee on Speedway Friday night to a giant message of reassurance.

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"We'll get through this together." Photo of last night's marquee change taken by Loft Cinema Board Member Tim Fuller.

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• Welcome Diner, 902 E. Broadway, is offering pay-what-you-can "staff meals"  — the daily meal offered free to employees and based on ingredients Executive Chef Ian Rosales has on hand. In the past week, that meal has included butternut squash bisque, Thai soup, jambalaya with red beans and rice, roasted veggies salad and Spanish rice with jackfruit. Rosales also is experimenting with dishes that can be frozen and eaten later including a fried green tomato parmesan. 

• There are lots of ways you can help your neighbors and the community. Here are some ideas. 

• The Arizona Daily Star wants to help Pima County charities with needs connect with people who can meet those needs. Go here for more information. 

• Gigs are canceled, tours are off, but that hasn't stopped some Tucson musicians from reaching audiences virtually and through carry-out concerts.

• Sammy's Mexican Grill is offering free meals to anyone in the Tucson area who has lost their job as a result of the coronavirus.

• Food writer Andi Berlin talks with three different restaurants about how they are staying open and staying safe. 

• Confirmed coronavirus cases in Arizona rise to 234. Pima County had 24 confirmed cases as of Monday afternoon. 

• Club Congress and Maynards Market & Kitchen announced over the weekend that they're closing their doors "for the foreseeable future." They've started a GoFundMe account for their hourly staff and have so far raised $6,115 of their $50,000 goal. "We will be back and stronger than ever, but until then, thank you for the support," they said on Facebook 

Note: a previous version of this article stated that Hotel Congress had shut down, but the hotel is still open for business, and The Cup Cafe is still serving food to-go.  


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• People with concerns or mild to moderate symptoms specific to the coronavirus can use the Northwest Healthcare's VirtualHealthConnect app to talk with a provider using a smartphone or computer, the Tucson-area healthcare provider said in a news release. 

• A University of Arizona psychiatry professor gave us some tips for helping kids through these uncertain times. 

• Tucson Unified School District launched a "Learn at Home" resource website with a sample daily schedule and links to grade-appropriate tools for English language arts, math, science and visual arts that kids can use during school closures. The district is working on its framework for remote learning. 

• Many Tucson-area school districts began free breakfast and lunch distribution today for all children ages 18 and younger. Find the list of locations here

• Arizona is getting a virus hotline with $2 million from the state.

•  Arizona Motor Vehicle Division is limiting office visits to people who have set appointments starting Monday. A new statewide customer service line, 602-712-2700, will be available between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to assist people who need to access MVD services remotely or need to set appointments. More than two-thirds of MVD services are available at ServiceArizona.com. Gov. Doug Ducey last week extended the driver license expiration date by six months for anyone whose license expires between March 1 and Sept. 1.

Arizona has received a large shipment of masks, gloves and other supplies for health workers battling COVID-19.

The Pima County Fair, scheduled for April 16-26, is canceled.