Picking Up Brunch

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Picking Up Brunch

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COVID has really made me re-evaluate my eating habits. I've seen so many amazing restaurants and bars close during the pandemic, and it has made me hyper aware of the need to shop local. Due to the economic impacts of the virus, I've stopped ordering from chain restaurants, and I find myself only ordering from local vegetarian and vegan restaurants who I want to see stay in business.

Beyond worrying about the economic stress placed on local restaurants, current events have been eye opening regarding the values of certain businesses. There have been restaurants and bars in both Phoenix and Tempe that are reporting several COVID-19 cases among staff but have refused to close. One such example of this has been Zipps Sports Grill, where the manager waited nearly a week before disclosing a series of COVID cases among staff. In other places, such as Mill Avenue in Tempe or Old Town Scottsdale, photos have emerged of patrons packed together at bars without any masks at all. It is unconscionable to watch these businesses-- some of which are legitimately at the center of public health outbreaks-- refuse to close, placing business interests above human lives. Beyond these public health concerns, some restaurants have outwardly supported police or penalized employees for supporting protesters following the murder of George Floyd. The popular chain Starbucks, for example, initially banned the wearing of "#BlackLivesMatter" pins until public outcry forced them to update their policy.

While a lot of restaurants and bars have been terrible, there have been other restaurants which have adapted in really awesome ways. The photos attached here capture my experiences picking up brunch at one of my favorite restaurants in Phoenix, The Coronado, a self described "{Woman + POC + LGBTQ Owned}" vegetarian spot in Phoenix. Early on in the pandemic, the restaurant made adjustments to ensure pick-up would be safe. As you can see in these photographs, the line is clearly marked with red tape so patrons always stay six feet apart, there is never more than one guest in the restaurant at a time, and masks are required. Although not pictured here, inside the restaurant, a plexiglass barrier has been set up to ensure there is a shield between the employees and the patrons, and payment is contact-less so no cash or checks are allowed to reduce contact spread. The Coronado has also been fairly active in Phoenix, using their platforms to highlight the needs and successes of local organizations. It's also possible that they have THE BEST french fries in all of Arizona.

This pandemic has forced me to re-evaluate my values as a consumer. I don't want to give my money to irresponsible, uncaring, super chains who are more concerned with profits than ethics. Luckily, there are a lot of awesome restaurants in Phoenix that have great safety measures and great community engagement. I hope when this pandemic ends people will remember which businesses put profits over people and will continue to shop critically. I know I will.

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This item was submitted on June 22, 2020 by Carolyn Evans using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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