Centennial Elementary School, COVID-19

Fifth-grade teacher Sarah Lang and principal Kristy Dale look at student work remotely via Google classroom at Centennial Elementary School in the Flowing Wells School District, Tucson, on March 20, 2020. The schools are closed due to the coronavirus.

Hi, friends. We know that things seem to be changing faster than we can all keep up. And even though we can't tell you about fun events happening right now, we still want to help you engage with and love our community.  

For local, breaking news, check out the Arizona Daily Star's coronavirus updates

On this page, we plan to share news updates, how local businesses and organizations are responding and what we can do to support each other through this. ❤️

Friday, March 20

*finished watching my escapist Netflix show ... and a trailer for a docuseries about pandemics starts to auto-play. Uhh... no thank you.*

• It's officially spring and locally-owned Spadefoot Nursery has an online order and pick up system so you don't miss out on planting season. Their online inventory includes vegetable and herb starts, flowering wildflower quarts and gallon-sized landscape plants. You make your selection, pay online and then select a day and time to pick them up. Text or call when you arrive and staff will deliver your order to your car. Go here for more info and to place an order.

• Riding public transit is free through March. Beginning Saturday, Sun Tran, Sun Link and Sun Van riders will have their fares waived through the end of the March, a city news release said. Officials will reevaluate the changes in April.

• The Loft Cinema is giving you the chance to see theatrical film releases from your couch. There are four films available to stream this weekend that are not available on any other streaming services and the Loft is splitting the revenue 50/50 with the film's distributer. The Loft will be using its share to pay employees and cover operational costs during its closure. New films will be released next Friday, too. Go here to see the list of films and buy the stream. 

• The University of Arizona has canceled its May 2020 in-person convocations and commencement, UA President Robert C. Robbins announced Friday, March 20. "The health and safety of our students, families, friends and communities must come first," Robbins said in a statement. 

• In addition to food you can get cocktails, sangria and mimosas to-go from Prep & Pastry and have the best weekend brunch ever at home (food must be part of the order). See what's available here

Barrio Brewing Co. is giving away free meals to first responders, law enforcement and medical professionals on Saturday, March 21 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call 520-791-2739 for more info. 

• Two of Arizona's biggest restaurant groups, Fox Restaurant Concepts and Upward Projects (owners of the newly-opened Postino on Grant Road) have teamed up on a fundraiser to help Arizona's restaurant workers. #TakeOutforTeams has a goal of raising $500,000 for out-of-work restaurant employees. To participate, local restaurants can add a "donations" line on their carry-out orders and set up a GoFundMe account and give the donations directly to their laid-off employees. For more info, email community@upwardprojects.com.

• Merit Foods Arizona, a locally-owned food distribution company, is doing curb-side pick up for foods like meat, produce, beans and canned goods at its warehouse, 1471 W. Commerce Court. You can place your order by phone by calling 884-8232 or show up in person to place your order and have it brought out to your car. The business says phone lines have been very busy, so it's best to go in person than to leave a voicemail. Orders can only be picked up Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. A catalog of items can be found here and prices vary. Keep up with changes and more info on the company's Facebook page

• Editor Jill Jorden Spitz explains how journalists at the Arizona Daily Star and #ThisIsTucson are working hard to report and inform readers about effects the coronavirus is having on the community without without trying to scare people or sensationalize the news. 

Become a member of #ThisIsTucson. None of our stories are behind a paywall because we believe this work should be free. We just launched membership last week because we believe in the power of journalism to help people find answers, connect with their community and change things for the better — and that work is costly. If you believe in what we do, your contribution directly helps our team of five local amazing women keep doing this work for you.

• We made a list of 15 local breweries and tap rooms with to-go or delivery options. Because it's been a week (or a month? or a year?). 

Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink, 101 E. Pennington Street, is selling pasta meal kits with curb-side pickup. Now you know what you're having for dinner. 

• Old Tucson has temporarily closed to the public.

• Fox Tucson Theatre has postponed all events that were originally scheduled through May. Organizers are working on new dates for many of the events. "If you are a ticket holder for April or May events, our box office will be connecting with you soon (if they have not already) to let you know the specifics for your show," the theater said. 

• Tucson Premium Outlets, the big outdoor shopping center along Interstate-10 in Marana, closed at least through March 29.

#ThisIsTucson is made possible by people who ❤️ our community just as much as our five-woman team. If you believe in what we do, support our work by becoming a member today