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Pima Eats

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Pimaeasts logo In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants and other food businesses have been required to close or change their format from dining in to take-out and delivery services to encourage social distancing. The economic impact of these actions directly affects 34,000 people working in this industry, which represents about 14% of all jobs in Pima County.

In addition to being the livelihood of so many members of our community, these businesses are crucial to our UNESCO Tucson City of Gastronomy designation as a tangible way in which we enjoy our heritage and food culture. Pimaeats is a resource designed to help public to locate restaurants and food businesses offering takeout and/or delivery, understand the food safety measures in place, and know what to expect when dining "out."

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Restaurant Directory

The restaurant and food business industry in Pima County appreciates the support and patronage of its community. In order to survive challenges of operating a business during COVID-19, most restaurants have transitioned into offering takeout and delivery. There are many directories that list restaurants participating, and it’s and it’s a good idea to call ahead or check online to make sure the restaurant is prepared to serve you.

Restaurants Open for Take Out or Delivery

COVID-19 and Food Safety

The change from dining in to take-out has not changed any of the Health Department’s food safety regulations for restaurants and food businesses. These establishments are all held to the same standards, and inspectors are still performing routine and educational inspections.

Authorities do not believe COVID-19 is spread through food, though you should always wash your hands before and after eating or handling food. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers guidance, information and resources to industry members and consumers on COVID-19 and food safety.

Takeout or Drive-Thru Food

  • There is no current indication that takeout or drive-thru meals will increase illness.
  • This option is a good risk management choice, especially for high-risk and elderly groups, because it helps maintain social distancing, and reduces the number things multiple people touch.

Delivery to Home

  • Maintains social distancing and reduces the number of touch points between preparation and serving of food.
  • Many delivery programs have instituted no touch/no interaction options, which further reduces risk.

Food Packaging

  • The risk of transfer of viruses from touching food packaging is very low
  • To further minimize risk, wash your hands and/or using hand sanitizer after handling food packaging. Washing hands before eating is always recommended.

What to Expect

  • Payment: Whether you place your order on the restaurant’s website, over the phone, or via a third-party delivery service, your payment will likely be made using credit or debit card when you order. You may have to sign a credit card statement at pick up or delivery, and in many cases, the restaurant staff or delivery service will ask you to use your own pen to minimize touch points. In some cases, you can still use cash at pick up or delivery, but this is not preferred given that handling cash increases chances of infection.
  • Pickup: Restaurants now offering takeout generally offer curb-side pickup, where the restaurant staff will bring the food in its container out to the customer’s car to minimize touch points. Or, the restaurant may have a modified entrance to give customers plenty of space in the open air to wait for their food.
  • Precautions: Most restaurant staff will be wearing gloves and will throw them away after handing you your food container. Remember that the kitchen staff are all held to much higher standards of hygiene than the average grocery store clerk stocking shelves.

Executive Order 2020-25- Flexible Food Item & Sale of Goods at Restaurants

This directive from Gov. Dough Ducey allows restaurants currently licensed or permitted to serve prepared food to 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 or are raw. Please be advised that such activity is permissible and falls under the current Pima County Food Code. Be assured that no additional permit is necessary to engage in this activity.

During the course of routine inspection, Consumer Health and Food Safety (CHFS) staff will document whether current licensed operators are engaged in the repackaging and resale of permitted items to the general public. The inspection will make note of pertinent findings and document the operator's compliance with the direction of the Executive Order. Please also note that any complaints concerning this type of activity will be handled by CHFS.

Executive Order 2020-31- Expanding Food Options For Commercial Vehicle Drivers

Governor Ducey on April 15 issued this order allowing the Arizona Department of Transportation to issue permits and schedule Mobile Food Truck operators to serve food at rest areas.

The order seeks to provide more food options to commercial drivers and increase the efficiency of commercial and public supply chains.

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