As you may know, representatives from many of our local mom-and-pop restaurants, myself and nearly 100 concerned and supportive citizens gathered on May 1 in-between Dirtwater Springs and the Handlebar Pub to send a video message to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.
The rally wasn't so much of a protest as a plea to rescind the harsh threats he made to these hard working and struggling establishments.
While we understand the need to stay safe by distancing, cleanliness and PPE protection, his message went beyond that when he threatened to pull liquor licenses, invoke harsh fines and even jail time.
Even if he had the constitutional authority to do that, our merchants are struggling enough without having this ominous threat looming over their heads.
If enacted it would surely be the final nail in the coffin of these teetering businesses.
They're not asking for a hand out but just a chance to operate enough to pay their own way by not getting behind on mortgages, rent or utilities.
Odds are none of these businesses turn a profit for the next year or so but so many families rely on their wages garnered from these employers that it means so much.
There's a common misconception out there that these employees are making more on unemployment than they were working and that's simply not true. Many are not even getting those benefits.
If you get a chance to watch the video of the event and listen to my statement you'll understand that everyone understands things have changed and they won't be able to operate as before.
Perhaps isolate every other table or booth with lots of sterilization between customers. The trend towards more takeout should also continue.
I also tried to make a point about the disparity between the big-box stores being able to operate and sell but not a freestanding specialty shop.
Inside a Walmart there is a jewelry section as well as a craft section which they are allowed to sell. Why then can our two locally owned jewelry stores not sell or a business like Hobby Lobby which sells primarily crafts?
It makes no sense, is unfair and I assure you these buildings are no more unsafe than cramming 100 shoppers into a department store.
One of the last points I tried to make was about our service organizations such as our VFWs, American Legion, Eagles, Elks and Moose. So many of our elderly rely on the camaraderie they find in these places as they may be the only family they have. The charities relying on these wonderful organizations also suffer because they can no longer support the giving that they usually do.
Finally, the First Amendment addresses freedom of religion and assembly. The governor's original order stated his decree should not affect constitutional freedoms.
Churches should be allowed to meet as long as they can keep the close contact to a minimum.
The First Amendment also says we have the right to air our grievances to the government. This exactly what happened on May 1 at the "Rally for Restaurants."
So please Mr. Ducey, open us up sooner rather than later.