Arizona Small Restaurants To Gov. Ducey: We Need Your Help

By Christina Estes
Published: Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - 3:51pm
Updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - 6:41pm

Executive Chef Danielle Leoni
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Executive Chef Danielle Leoni puts the finishing touches on a dish at the Breadfruit and Rum Bar in Phoenix in 2016.

The Arizona Small Restaurant Coalition says it needs Gov. Doug Ducey’s help to try to save their businesses.

The rent came due April 1, and too many restaurants can’t cover it.

Dwayne Allen co-owns the Breadfruit and Rum Bar, a downtown Phoenix restaurant forced to close after losing business to the coronavirus outbreak. While Ducey has said he expects landlords to be understanding and treat people with dignity, Allen said that’s not enough. 

“Listen, the way we see this thing: we’re all in this together and it’s fantastic when we see people say that but we need to make sure that we have policies in place that ensures people behave in a way that really supports that statement, that we’re all in this together,” he said.

Chef Danielle Leoni,who co-owns the Breadfruit and Rum Bar, said the future of Arizona’s small business community is at risk.

“Locally owned businesses aren’t asking for a bailout, just some temporary help to have a fighting chance at reopening our doors when this public health crisis has passed,” she said in a prepared statement. “The governor has worked with the bankers to help landlords, but shops like ours don’t rent directly from banks. Our future, and the future of Arizona’s greater small business community is at risk. We need clear, decisive leadership — today.”

Although Allen said the Breadfruit’s landlord is understanding, others are not: “We think the best course of action is an executive order and, again, that way everybody is on the same playing field, there are no ambiguities, we are quite clear on what the road forward looks like.”

On March 24, 2020, Gov. Ducey issued an executive order that delays evictions for 120 days in hardship cases involving people renting apartments and houses.

On March 31, Ducey announced the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control will defer liquor licensing fees for 90 days. In a press release announcing the deferred payments, the Governor's Office said, "Today’s action fulfills a request by Arizona small business coalitions and provides additional financial relief to establishments and small businesses that could have faced penalties for late fees come April 1."

Allen said the action provides some relief, but the more critical priorities are immediate rent and sales tax relief.

"In a typical commercial lease, there's a three-day cure period and beyond that is really then up to the landlord to decide what happens going forward," he said. 

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