Pima County shuts down coffee shop until rules are followed

Pima County shuts down coffee shop until rules are followed

TUCSON (KVOA) – Owner of Viva Coffee House, Kelly Walker has gone back and forth with Pima County trying to abided by COVID-19 business protocol.

Pima County said if you do not follow the rules, there are consequences. Walker said he does not understand.

“You know we thought customers had to wear a mask coming in, and then they do not need one. But apparently, if they are sitting down, they do not need one but if they stand up, they need one. So it is confusing,” explained Walker.

Last month, Walker was arrested at a Board of Supervisors meeting after quoting threats he received.

News 4 Tucson spoke with Walker the next day. He said his business was being targeted and put on the “wall of shame.”

“A lady came in and took pictures of six or seven mothers with their children not wearing masks. They were not doing anything wrong. She put it on a Tucson the Coronavirus forum which has been so venomous. Then she reported us to the county.”

Pima County Health Inspectors have gone out several times to the coffee house. Sometimes Viva was in compliance.

Other times, they were not. Then finally, Pima County said enough.

“Viva Coffeehouse has repeatedly failed County Health Department inspections for compliance with both Governor Ducey’s and the Board of Supervisors’ face covering requirements,” said Pima County Chief Medical Officer and Deputy County Administrator Dr. Francisco Garcia.

Dr. Garcia said a letter was sent to Walker on September 16. It read in part…

“…demanding Viva Coffeehouse comply with State and County health and safety requirements or face enforcement action to include suspension of their operating permit issued under the County Consumer Health and Food Safety Code.”

The health department did another inspection on Oct. 5 and once again found Viva Coffee House out of compliance with face covering requirements.

“I believe it was Tuesday. We had a notice of public nuisance, I believe was delivered and suspension of our operating permit. And we have been shut down, this is the third day,” said Walker.

News 4 Tucson asked Walker if he understands why.

“We are still trying to figure that out. We have tried very hard to be compliant. to understand what compliance looks like.”

The county said, the purpose of the face covering requirements, and the other health and safety laws set by the state and county, are to protect the public health.

Walker said Viva is willing to comply.

“And have our baristas wear masks or face shields.”

Dr. Garcia said, if Viva agrees to comply with all state and county health laws and requirements, the permit will be reinstated.

“We are still waiting just to verify we have that approval. Going into the weekend, we really need our people to be working.

After the interview, Walker confirmed with the county the permit has been reinstated.

Viva Coffee House will open back up Saturday morning.


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