State & Local Government updates and ARA Advocacy

This page will continuously be update as further action is taken or new information becomes available.

Guidance for Reopening Restaurants on May 11, 2020

On May 4, 2020, Governor Ducey announced that restaurants may resume dine-in operations on Monday, May 11, 2020. Restaurants choosing to reopen will need to implement protocols and best practices for guarding against the spread of the Coranavirus. To assist restaurants in this process, the Arizona Restaurant Association has developed "Welcome Back to the Table: Restaurant Guidance on Reopening Dining Room Operations." This document contains the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) as part of the Governor's order, as well as a series of best practices.

The Arizona Restaurant Association worked with industry leaders, public health experts, restaurant operators of all sizes, and our supplier partners to develop these guidelines to assure customers that the restaurant industry is taking a leadership role in protecting our community. While not enforceable by law, these guidelines should serve restaurants as they analyze the best and safest way to welcome customers back to the table.

Access Back to the Table Guidance

Restaurant Industry Relief Package

On March 17, 2020 the Arizona Restaurant Association sent a letter to Governor Doug Ducey and Legislative Leaders seeking a series of executive and legislative actions to provide much-needed support for our industry and our employees. Specifically, the ARA is asking for the State Government to:

  • Enhance Arizona’s unemployment insurance program by:
    • Waiving the one-week waiting period
    • Waiving the job search requirement
    • Allowing employers to keep employees “technically” employed but with reduced or no-hours of work while allowing those impacted employees to access unemployment benefits
    • Removing all costs to employers for increased claims of unemployment
    • Create a one-stop-shop resource for employees needing support and employers needing to provide information to their employees
  • Extend the filing period for sales tax remittance by 90-days
  • Extend the filing period for estimated income tax payments by 90-days
  • Authorize restaurants with a series-12 liquor licenses to sell sealed bottles of wine and beer for to-go and delivery orders
  • Appropriate $100 million to a discretionary account
    • $50 million to supplement unemployment insurance payments
    • $50 million to provide short-term, zero-interest loans to businesses

To date, Governor Ducey has issued an Executive Orders to enhance Arizona's unemployment insurance program  and authorize restaurants with a series-12 liquor license to sell alcohol for delivery and takeout.  The Legislature has appropriated $50 million that can be used for housing assistance, food bank operations, homelessness services, and economic relief for small businesses.  The ARA is working with the Governor's Office to determine the best way to utilize these funds to help restaurants and our employees.

Read the letter to Governor Ducey

Liquor License Renewal Fees Delayed

On March 31, 2020 we announced that Governor Ducey had delayed liquor license renewal fees for 90 days.  Please remember that this delay only applies to the fee and not the renew paperwork.   If your liquor license renewal date was April 1 and you did not renew, please do so now!
The Department of Liquor License and Control (DLLC) has set up an alternative renewal site for individuals wishing to renew under the fee delay.
Additionally, DLLC has announced that those businesses that have already submitted their payment may request a refund to take advantage of the 90 day delay.

Eviction Protection for Commercial Renters

On April 6, 2020 Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order prohibiting commercial evictions, including lock-outs, notice to vacate, or any other attempt to inhibit the operations of a business.

Restaurants that have not been able to reach an agreement with their landlord and are interested in the protections provided by this order, you will need to meet these certain requirements:
  • Notify your landlord in writing that you are seeking a delay in eviction, lock-out, a reduction or deferral of rent.
  • Include any available supporting documentation of your inability to pay rent.
  • If you receive any financial support from public programs (Paycheck Protection Program, SBA loans, grants, etc.), you must allocate a portion of the eligible assistance to any past or currently due rents.
It is important to understand that this order only delays action and does not release any renter from financial obligations.

Restaurants May Sell Grocery Items

On April 7, 2020, Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order clarifying that restaurants may repackage and sell raw food items and other products directly to the public - similar to a grocery store.
The Executive Orders state that:
  • Restaurants currently licensed or permitted to serve prepared food may sell grocery items including, but not limited to, paper goods, cleaning supplies, prepared food in bulk, meat and vegetables whether or not those items are normally packaged for resale, provided the following:
    • Food sold must be wholesome and unadulterated.
    • Open ready-to-eat foods must be within the date marking requirements to be sold.
    • Products requiring refrigeration must remain under temperature control (41-degrees or less) until ready for pick up or delivery.
    • Customers should be instructed to get food home quickly and placed under refrigeration.
    • Bulk household goods should be sold in their original containers.
    • Raw meats should be separated from other foods, especially produce and other ready-to-eat food items to prevent cross contamination.
    • Businesses shall assess their customer traffic flows to ensure a takeout or curbside business model will maintain the Governor's social distancing requirements
The order also contains other provisions such as waiving the enforcement of Weights and Measures.

Governor Ducey Restricts Restaurant Operations

On Thursday, March 20 Governor Ducey announced that he was taking additional steps to curb the spread of COVID-19. One such step is ordering the restriction of restaurant activities to takeout, drive-thru and delivery options. In a statement the Governor said “These latest actions are based on the facts and on data, and come after careful consultation with public health experts from every county in Arizona, our hospitals, local elected officials, and private sector partners.”

Provisions of the new order include:

  • Beginning at the close of business on Friday, March 20, restaurant operations are restricted to takeout, drive-thru, and delivery options in counties with confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • Beginning at 5:00PM on Friday, March 20, allows restaurants to sell alcohol for delivery and takeout
  • Allows manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to buy back unopened products from restaurants, bars and clubs
  • Beginning at the close of business on Friday, March 20, closes all bars, theaters and gyms in counties with confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • Halts all elective surgeries to free up medical resources
  • Activates the AZ National Guard to assist grocery stores and food banks with re-stocking and heightened demand
  • Delays expiration dates on Arizona driver licenses for residents over the age of 65

Read the Executive Order

Cities and Counties Restrict Restaurant Operations

Starting with the City of Flagstaff on March 15, 2020,  many cities have declared local emergencies and issued their own orders on restaurant operations.  Below is the list of all cities taking action:

Cave Creek

On March 19, 2020 Mayor Bunch ordered restaurants to restrict their operations to delivery and takeout.  They proclamation is in effect until April 7, 2020.

Read the proclamation 

Coconino County

On March 18, 2020, the Coconino Board of Superiors declared a local emergency and orders restaurants restrict operations to delivery and takeout only.   The order is in effect until April 2, 2020.

Read the proclamation

Flagstaff

On March 15, 2020, Mayor Coral Evans became the first mayor to declare a local emergency.   The Mayor's order prohibits all restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, retail food facilities, and other similar businesses and establishments are prohibited from serving food and beverages for consumption on premises.  Delivery and takeout operations are still allowed under this order.   This order is in effect until April 2, 2020.

Read the press release

Mesa

On March 19, 2020, Mayor Giles issued a proclamation ordering all restaurants and bars to close with the exception of delivery and take-out.  The  proclamation does not have termination date listed.

Read the proclamation

Phoenix

On March 18, 2020, Mayor Gallego issued a proclamation ordering all restaurants and bars be closed with the exception of delivery and take-out.  The proclamation does not have a termination date listed.

Read the proclamation

Pima County

On March 19, 2020, the Pima County Board of Supervisors ordered the closing of all restaurants and bars to dine-in customers, restricting activity to delivery and takeout only.  The order is in effect until April 1, 2020.

Read the press release 

Tempe

On March 19, 2020 Mayor Mitchell issued a proclamation restricting restaurant and bar activity to delivery and takeout only.  The proclamation does not have a termination date listed.

Read the proclamation 

Tolleson

Mayor Anna Tovar issued a proclamation on March 17, 2020 ordering restaurants to provide delivery and takeout services only.  The order is in effect until April 2, 2020.

Read the proclamation 

Tucson

On March 17, 2020, Mayor Regina Romero issued a proclamation closing dine-in options, restricting restaurants to delivery and takeout only. The order is in effect until April 1, 2020

Read the proclamation