One-Two Slam From COVID Closures, Building Challenge Tucson Bar, Restaurants | Attendees

The bar and restaurant accounted for about 30% of Exo’s revenue, Smith said, but since the rent or food and labor costs didn’t have to be paid, the loss wasn’t too bad. When she analyzed the numbers, Smith said she believed Exo’s business is where it was before the fall 2019 bar expansion.

But with the mess wrecking the Delta variant of COVID, Smith said she doesn’t have a clear picture of the impact the roadblock is having on her business.

“That changes from week to week. Before COVID, you could make those predictions year after year” about business patterns, from the slowdown in summer to the boom as students and winter visitors returned in early fall, she said. “All bets are up now.”

Just around the corner at Anello, 222 E. Sixth St., the pizzeria chef Scott Girod sees the latest construction phase as a continuation of what he has seen since work began on the Union on 6th multi-story apartment complex on Sixth Street in the beginning 2020. If he had not seen the “Road closed” sign on the way to work on Monday, he would not have blinked twice, he said.

“I guess I’m just used to living with it. There are always construction sites,” he said last Thursday as he made pizza dough for dinner. “But nothing compares to the pandemic.”

Girod estimates he lost about half of his usual business during the pandemic after closing his dining room and only changing take-out in March 2020. Take-away hadn’t been a big part of his business before the pandemic; Most days, his small 30-seat dining room was packed all night and people waited to be met over a beer at the neighboring Crooked Tooth Brewing Co.


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