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$25K donation will help Tucson bar, restaurant workers hurt by coronavirus

$25K donation will help Tucson bar, restaurant workers hurt by coronavirus

From the April's Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: 1,200+ Pima County cases, stay-home order extended series

Tucson restaurant and bar workers displaced by the coronavirus are getting a hand up from Tucson’s Barrio Brewing Foundation Fund, which is donating $25,000 toward grocery gift cards.

Barrio founders Dennis and Tauna Arnold launched the fund last fall with the intent of doing small gestures to help people in need.

The $25,000 will cover the cost of $50 grocery gift cards for 500 people.

It is the first campaign of the fund.

“There are people in the business who live paycheck to paycheck,” Dennis Arnold said. “We came up with the idea … of grocery cards.”

The Barrio fund donated the money for the gift card campaign to the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, which has partnered with Greater Tucson Leadership to distribute the cards.

Restaurants and bars have until the end of the day Friday, April 10, to apply and each restaurant selected will receive five gift cards to distribute to workers, said Carrie Durham, Greater Tucson Leadership’s events and community relations director.

“There is not going to be enough money for everybody, but we are going to be able to reach 500 individuals,” Durham said, noting that going through the businesses and giving each the same number of cards ensures the effort will be fair.

Businesses can apply through the Tucson Metro Chamber by emailing Be sure to include the business name and contact information.

Durham said they hope to distribute the cards to businesses next week.

Meanwhile, anyone wanting to donate to the Barrio Brewing Foundation Fund’s efforts can do so through the Greater Tucson Leadership’s website, Be sure to indicate that the donation is earmarked for the restaurant and bar workers relief efforts.

In other restaurant news this week:

A prominent Tucson restaurant hit the pause button this week and decided to temporarily close to ride out the coronavirus pandemic.

Kingfisher, 2564 E. Grant Road, will close at the end of business Wednesday, April 8, according to a note owner Jim Murphy posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page Monday, April 6.

“We have spent the last 27 years of our lives getting to this place and it is difficult to hit the pause button. We are all going home to be with our families, but will return when the crisis has abated,” Murphy said.

“When we come back, it will be with new spring/summer menus, road trip menus, and a renewed sense of purpose and commitment. The love you have shown us since closing the dining rooms on March 17th has gone a long way to help support our staff.”

Murphy owns Kingfisher with Jeff Azersky.

Meanwhile, Fox Restaurant Concepts is offering 35% off all curbside pickup orders placed Sunday, April 12, through Thursday, April 16, to its Tucson locations of Blanco Tacos, Wildflower and its two Zinburger restaurants. You have to order online or over the phone and use the code FRC35. And if you’d like a little wine or beer with your order, they’re cutting the price in half with the purchase of food.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch

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