TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — This is the first weekend since Governor Ducey lifted some COVID-19 restrictions, and some bars and restaurants are seeing increased foot traffic.
The owner of the Union Public House in Tucson says even though the Governor rolled back several restrictions, safety is still their number one priority.
“It’s been a very difficult year for all of us in the service industry,” said owner Grant Krueger.
He says the pandemic has brought many changes and challenges.
“We had had our sales cut to nearly half of what they normally were based on the fact that we had to close early,” Krueger told KGUN9.
When the pandemic hit, his three businesses Union Public House, Reforma, and Proof Artisanal Pizza & Pasta collectively averaged about 1,000 customers a day.
He says, after the lift in restrictions, those numbers went up on Friday.
“Last night we had about 1,400 people come in and out through the doors and into our large courtyard. We’re over 43,000 square feet over here at St. Phillip’s plaza so we’ve got a lot of space to space people out,” he added.
Because of this, Krueger is expecting those numbers to continue to climb throughout the weekend.
“I think that there was a lot of really excited patrons that were able to now come in and move about the restaurant a little bit more freely, and to stand up and even dance,” said the proud owner.
He says safety continues being their main priority. They are still requiring servers to wear masks and have only increased their bar seating.
“But we’re following the Governor’s orders and allowing the customer’s masks to be recommended, but not required,” Krueger told KGUN9.
Though he says the majority of customers continue coming in with masks, like Camille Reed— a regular at Union Public House.
“I think this has been a long time coming and it’s so good for small business owners and it’s just nice to see people smile again and to get out…and be in the community and make connections and friends, and it’s just nice to feel normal,” she said.
“We’re tickled pink for the opportunity to stay open until 2 o’clock in the morning, 7 days a week and get back to business. It’s great to start to see the light at the tunnel on the other side,” Krueger added.