I got some feedback that my newsletters haven’t been very exciting lately. I get that. My staff and I have been trying to play it down the middle with all of you during this crisis, and that sometimes means that these notes to you can be a bit boring, “boilerplate” as one of you said. I’ve had to put aside a few of the issues that excite me the most while our city deals with the crisis, and I’m confining most of my communication with you to just the basic information that we need while we deal with this.
That said, I am frustrated with the way that federal support for small business has been rolled out. I think it was the worst possible way to spend $2.2 trillion. It could have gone to small relief or to relief to landlords and their tennants or to independent contractors or to struggling families. Instead, every day we get a headline about another big business that is pocketing millions in aid while their employees receive layoff notices.
Still, there are portions of the CARES Act that can benefit small business and there are other programs out there, it’s just that many people don’t have the connections or information to take advantage of them. Our economic development office wants our business community to have that information, so they have a website, connecttucson.com. They can also be reached by phone at 837-4100.
They are also asking for feedback from retailers, independent contractors and anyone else who is trying to run a business in this crisis. Please fill out their survey, connecttucson.com/survey. The economic development office is also setting up online conversations with local business. If you’d like to participate, contact my office and we’ll forward your name on.
I had a meeting with the economic development office this week and there are programs we are looking to roll out soon. I’ll keep you up to date.
If you are a customer looking to support our restaurants even if you can’t go out and don’t feel comfortable with pick-up or delivery, I’d like to encourage you to buy gift cards online. Many of our local restaurants make these available on their website. That means money in their pockets now even if you have to wait for a visit.
It would be inappropriate for me to promote a specific restaurant in my newsletter, but I’d like to tell you about two organizations that are promoting gift cards for their members. The Downtown Tucson Partnership has a gift card program for their businesses. It’s been successful enough that they are currently out of cards, but check in on their website to see when they are available.
Tucson Originals, an organization of restaurants including many on the east side, is also offering gift cards.
An increase in self-hauler business has caused extremely long waits and is impacting customer and staff safety at the Los Reales Landfill. Residents who are using extra time at home to clean their houses and yards are asked to only come to the landfill if absolutely necessary. Lines have been very long, especially in the afternoons and on Saturdays. Public health experts are recommending that people stay home and only leave if their work and personal needs absolutely require it. If yard waste and other debris can be contained at home, visit the landfill once stay-at-home recommendations have eased. Our Environmental Services department has a video with more information.
We’ll make it through this, Tucson.