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Grants, resources roll out to support Tucson businesses impacted by COVID-19

Grants, resources roll out to support Tucson businesses impacted by COVID-19

  • Updated

A pedestrian crosses Church Avenue near the Historic Pima County Courthouse in a nearly-empty downtown Tucson during the coronavirus pandemic.

As Tucson businesses work to adjust to a COVID-19 world, local organizers, the city and Pima County are stepping up to provide support.

In Downtown Tucson, a program has launched to help restaurants build, expand or enhance outdoor café areas — a hot commodity as eateries have been required to reduce indoor dining capacity.

The Downtown Outdoor Café Grant Program, supported by Downtown Tucson Partnership and Pima County, will reimburse up to $5,000 for items like: café tables, chairs, or umbrellas; platform, railing, barriers or temporary fencing; landscaping (planters/plants), misters, exterior speakers or equipment required to operate outside; and design or architectural fees.

Then there’s the Downtown Rebound Grant Program, also supported by DTP and the county, designed to offset costs associated with safe reopening. The program provides up to $2,000 for expenses like personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfecting supplies and equipment, interior renovations related to social distancing requirements, exterior improvements and marketing.

Businesses are encouraged to try to procure PPE on their own. The DTP effort is designed to serve as an alternative for businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

“We’re happy we can offer support to downtown businesses. The grants will help businesses make the changes necessary and stay afloat through this challenging time,” said Kathleen Eriksen, president and CEO of the Downtown Tucson Partnership. “We’re incredibly grateful to Pima County for partnering with DTP and supporting small businesses in this time of need.”

For more information on the grant opportunities, visit


A separate effort has also launched that is open to local businesses across the Tucson area, even those that are temporarily closed.

Pima County and the City of Tucson partnered with Hownd, an online marketing platform, to help brick-and-mortar businesses generate immediate cash sales and future foot traffic, a news release said.

The campaign, “Shop Our Local Deals (SOLD),” invites merchants to join the platform for free. Through Hownd, customers can purchase support vouchers, similar to digital gift cards, and take advantage of promotional offers.

To check out the deals, community members have to download the MyHownd app.

The City of Tucson and Pima County are covering Hownd’s administrative fees for a period of time that would otherwise be charged to the participating businesses.

However, there are limited funds available, so interested businesses are encouraged to sign up early. For more information, go to

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