This month the city of Tempe released a series of videos spotlighting businesses important to the community to promote shopping local as well as practicing COVID-19 guidelines.
The series, called "Help Us Stay Open For You," features business owners and employees asking their customers to protect themselves and others by using safe practices for COVID-19 when they go out.
In two videos of the series, Diego Vizcarra, the owner of Borrosos Barber Studio, asked customers to get frequently tested and vaccinated as soon as they're able and Caffe Boa's general manager Zachary Powell encouraged social distancing from anyone who you don't live with.
All of the restaurants were specifically chosen for the series because of their impact on the Tempe community. Paulina Valencia, an assistant manager at the participating restaurant Rosita's Fine Mexican Food, said the restaurant is one of the oldest in the city.
Tempe's small businesses are no exception to the economic impacts of the pandemic that has caused many stores to close. Many of the local businesses that are struggling have long served the Tempe and ASU community.
Kris Baxter-Ging, a public information officer for the city of Tempe, said Tempe's business community has been hit hard.
"For health and safety reasons, people are not going out as much and they are not gathering in groups," Baxter-Ging said in an email. "There are no permitted large special events that draw tourists."
Tempe's current mask mandate requires masks to be worn whenever social distancing is not possible. Many public spaces, including all city public buildings, Tempe Center for the Arts and Diablo Stadium, have been closed as well.
Rosita's, located on University and South Hardy drives, has been open since 1963. Valencia said though they never completely closed their doors, at the beginning of the pandemic they only offered a take-out option, but now they are open for dine-in.
"Throughout the quarantine we had a lot of support because we never closed, so it was really nice to have that continued business," Valencia said.
Honey Moon Sweets Bakery & Dessert Bar, located on West Southern Avenue and South Roosevelt Drive, has been in business for 25 years. The store's manager, Alisa Hoppis, said they have seen a dramatic drop in sales since the pandemic began.
"Our sales have decreased by 60 to 70%" Hoppis said.
The bakery has added many new features to ensure their customers' safety. They're using an air purifier, several hand-sanitizing stations as well as outdoor seating in conjunction with the city's mask mandate to protect customers, according to Hoppis.
In their video for the series, Tim O'Connor, one of the bakery's co-owners, had just one plea for Tempe residents:
"Please mask up so we can go back to celebrating together again."
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