Casa Amigos Provides Meals for Greater Phoenix First Responders

Casa Amigos, a restaurant located in the heart of Scottsdale’s entertainment district, is supporting local police and fire departments in the Greater Phoenix metro area by donating free meals to first responders. Casa Amigos, and parent company Evening Entertainment Group, said that this was their way of acknowledging the importance of their partnership with the police and fire departments, and that they were honored to be able to support them in this way.

Drew Young, general manager of Casa Amigos, has been leading the effort over the past few weeks. Young is aiming for every police department to receive 50 meals, with appropriate numbers also going to smaller firehouses. He has already made deliveries to 10 departments totaling 500 meals, with deliveries to another 10 departments across the Valley scheduled. As of now, meals have been donated to all Scottsdale and Tempe police departments. Surrounding cities like Mesa, Gilbert, and Phoenix are still to come.

The effort is made possible by donations received from Young’s long-time clientele who “want to help make a difference in the community.” Despite state-mandated closures for establishments with Series 6 and 7 liquor licenses, Young says that he was able to reopen the Casa Amigos kitchen solely to cook these meals for first responders.

“We could not operate our venues as safely or efficiently without the help of the police and fire departments,” says Young. “We value our long-term relationship with them, and while we cannot currently serve our customers, we can serve those who serve and protect us.”

At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Young says that Casa Amigos held a similar campaign to donate meals to local nurses fighting the virus on the front lines. It was a success, seeing more than 4,000 meals donated. Phoenix Children’s Hospital in particular received 1,700 meals donated for Nurse’s Week.

Casa Amigos is located at 7340 E. Indian Plaza, Suite 100, in Scottsdale. For more information, visit casaamigosaz.com.

Paycheck Protection Program Has Reopened — Application deadline is Aug. 8

The Paycheck Protection Program resumed accepting applications July 6, in response to the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act. The new deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan is Aug. 8, 2020.

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses. Read more about PPP loan forgiveness here.

Businesses can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. Businesses should consult with their local lender as to whether it is participating in the program. View a list of lenders participating in the Paycheck Protection Program by state.

To begin preparing an application, download a copy of the PPP borrower application form (revised June 24, 2020) to see the information that will be requested when applying with a lender.

For additional information, visit sba.gov.

Local Apparel Company Lucia & Marie Now Offering Handmade Face Masks

Photo courtesy of Lucia & Marie

Lucia & Marie is a clothing brand made in Arizona. Cindy Lonnstrom, owner, operates an online Etsy shop for accessories and “fur baby” apparel. Although, currently, she is creating handmade face masks and is selling the products within the U.S.

“Since the quarantine period began, I started selling handmade face masks to consumers and donating some to medical professionals who were looking to preserve their N95 masks,” said Lonnstrom. “With the understanding that handmade cotton face masks are not medical-grade or FDA approved masks. When a consumer buys two, we gift one to healthcare workers fighting to save lives of patients with COVID-19.”

For additional information, call 480.479.5057, visit luciaandmarie.com or find the boutique on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Harold’s Corral Donates Nearly 4,000 Meals During Pandemic

—By Sue Kern-Fleischer

Franny Pachuca makes brisket at Harold’s for meals that will be donated to the Foothills Food Bank and Cave Creek Unified School District.

It’s been just a few weeks since Arizona reopened, lifting the “Stay at Home” restrictions put in place to help flatten the curve from COVID-19. And while Harold’s Cave Creek Corral’s dining room is open to patrons, the iconic restaurant is continuing a unique take-out program it started with the help of the Kiwanis Club of Carefree more than two months ago to help feed families in need.

In its nearly 85 years of business, Harold’s had never experienced operating during a global pandemic. But when it became clear that the highly contagious coronavirus (COVID-19) could endanger the lives of customers and staff, Harold’s shifted into crisis mode, with the goal of helping the community the popular restaurant serves.

Like restaurants across the country, Harold’s temporarily closed its dining room and began to offer curbside and take-out service. But the popular western bar and restaurant took matters a step further, soliciting the help of the Kiwanis Club of Carefree to help fund a unique program to help the Foothills Food Bank and families of the Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD).

Harold’s designed its take-out menu to include a unique commitment to the community: For every family-style meal ordered, which feeds four to five people, Harold’s will donate a family-style meal to a family in need through the District’s meal assistance program. Additionally, Harold’s is donating individual meals to the Foothills Food Bank.

Both Harold’s Corral and the Kiwanis Club of Carefree provided funding to start the program. Harold’s prepares the meals and the District and the Foothills Food Bank pick up the meals and distribute them.

Margaret Carver and Danny Piacquadio package meals for the Foothills Food Bank and Cave Creek Unified School District.

From March to May, Harold’s donated more than 3,500 meals, and the unique program will continue this month.

“If you would like to help with this program, you can make direct donations to the Kiwanis Club of Carefree or the Foothills Food Bank and note the donation is for Harold’s meal assistance program. Our goal is to continue to support both the food bank and CCUSD through this time of crisis. Thanks to Kiwanis Club of Carefree, Harold’s Corral and our customers, plus Shamrock Foods, we are able to provide these meals to those in need,” owner Danny Piacquadio said.

Take-out service through Harold’s is available seven days per week, with orders taken from 8am to 2:30pm. Since reopening its dining room in mid-May, Harold’s has been following CDC guidelines regarding sanitization efforts and social distancing. The dining room and outdoor patio is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday from 8am to 10pm and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8am to midnight.

Harold’s Cave Creek Corral is located at 6895 E. Cave Creek Rd. For more information, call 480.488.1906 or visit www.haroldscorral.com.

To learn more about Cave Creek Unified School District, visit www.ccusd93.org. To learn more about the Foothills Food Bank, visit www.foothillsfoodbank.com. For details about the Kiwanis Club of Carefree, visit www.kiwaniscarefree.org.

Eye Care During These Surreal Times

By Stephen Cohen, O.D.

Many people have delayed getting their eyes examined during this time, whether it is due to avoiding going out, other priorities or work situations. Many eye doctors have closed their offices during this crisis. In some parts of the country (e.g., New Jersey), eye care practitioners are only permitted to see true eye emergency patients or face State Board disciplinary action. Fortunately, it is not that drastic here in Arizona and in many other places.

Here are a few facts and recommendations as we work through this crisis. I will base some of the information on how our office is working with our patients, and you can check with your regular eye doctor to see what their procedures are right now.

First, there is a form of conjunctivitis (inflammation of the white part of the eye) that has been associated with COVID-19. It is not among the most common signs of the disease, and there are many other causes of red eye besides this specific virus, so don’t panic if your eyes get red. When you call, your eye doctor’s office will likely ask if you have other symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, etc.) to see if it is OK for you to be seen in their office. If you do show other symptoms, or if you are just not comfortable going out, they, like us, might offer “virtual consultations” through telemedicine (text, photos, videos, FaceTime, Zoom), where a diagnosis could be determined and a treatment plan put in place without you having to leave your home. We have been encouraging all patients with eye emergencies to avoid emergency rooms and Urgent Care centers so that their resources can focus on people who might be sick from the virus and to help protect you from possible exposure to people who might be sick from the virus. Your eye doctor, like us, may also have an after-hours emergency system where they can be paged. Over the past month, I have met numerous patients at my office over the weekend with serious eye problems like sudden retinal detachments and strokes in the eye, issues that cannot wait until this crisis passes. If you have something sudden and dramatic, do not delay…call!

Your doctor might be willing to extend out expiration dates on ocular medications and contact lenses. We are refilling medication requests and are extending contact lens expiration dates as well as shipping a supply of contact lenses directly to patients, with no charge for shipping. As far as contact lenses are concerned, the CDC has determined that contact lens use during this crisis is still acceptable. Just make sure you wash your hands before and after insertion of contact lenses. While routine eye care can be delayed for now, we are “triaging” each patient who calls to determine when it would be best to schedule their appointment. Your eye doctor may be doing the same, so they may be available for more than just true emergencies.

All of our lives have been drastically impacted during this crisis. It is hard to fully grasp how different life is now than it was just two months ago. We all believe this will pass, and there will be changes in our day-to-day existence. Hopefully, many will be for the better. Stay safe!


Dr. Stephen Cohen has been in private practice in Scottsdale since 1985. His office motto is, “Where modern technology meets old-fashioned care,” and he provides eye care from infants to seniors.  He can be reached at 480.513.3937 or by email at stephen.cohen@doctormyeyes.net.  His website is www.doctormyeyes.net.


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Governor Announces New Guidance as ‘Stay At Home’ Order Expires May 15

Governor Doug Ducey announced at a May 12 press conference that the “Stay At Home” order in Arizona will be ending May 15 and replaced by new guidance for the “next stage of economic recovery.”

The Governor’s office says that the new guidance “aligns with gating criteria issued by the White House and Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and aims to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 resurgence, protect vulnerable populations, and guide the reopening of businesses with enhanced physical distancing and safety measures in place.”

Arizona’s new Executive Order, takes effect Saturday, May 16. View the Executive Order here.

Governor Ducey also announced an accelerated plan to test all staff and residents of long-term care facilities as well as individuals within Arizona’s prisons. As part of this plan, the Arizona Department of Health Services will partner with private-sector labs to expand testing to 147 long-term care facilities and provide antibody tests for correctional officers. Additionally, major league sports can resume limited reopening, without fans, this Saturday, May 16.
The Arizona Department of Health Services also released additional guidance for businesses and customers as more industries resume partial operations. This guidance includes:

  • Pools, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)
  • Gyms & Fitness Providers, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)
  • Spas, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)

View daily Arizona updates here.

City of Scottsdale Tennis, Pickleball Courts and Skatepark will Reopen Friday, May 8

Scottsdale’s outdoor tennis courts, pickleball courts and the McDowell Mountain Ranch skate park will reopen for the public Friday, May 8.

The neighborhood tennis and pickleball courts will be available regular park hours, from sunrise until 10:30pm. (Note: Cholla Park pickleball courts are underdoing construction, and that construction should be complete the weekend of May 8. Once the project is complete, courts will be open regular hours. Check the Cholla Park webpage for the latest updates.)

The Scottsdale Ranch and Indian School Tennis Centers will be available beginning May 8 for reservations only during modified operating hours: 7:30am to noon; 3 to 9pm daily. No drop-in play will be permitted — a maximum of four players/coaches per court will be enforced. Showers and locker facilities are closed.

The city will continue to clean facilities regularly to help control the spread of germs and viruses. The public should do its part by recreating responsibly: anyone who does not feel well or has any symptoms of illness should stay home, people should not gather in groups and everyone should practice good hand hygiene.

The city is planning to reopen other public facilities and programs as statewide restrictions are relaxed. A phased opening of city pools is planned beginning Memorial Day pending further direction from the state. The city is also preparing to reopen some libraries on a similar time frame. Details will be announced later in May.

The decision to reopen these amenities is based on the governor’s current executive orders, the direction to keep recreation areas open “to the greatest possible extent,” and ongoing guidance from federal, state and county public health officials. The city’s plans may be modified as this guidance changes.

Find Scottsdale’s current COVID-19 response information and resources at scottsdaleaz.gov, search “COVID-19.

Gov. Ducey Issues “Returning Stronger” Executive Order, Extending “Stay Home” Order Through May 15 With Amendments

At an April 29 press conference, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced that his March 30 “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” Order, (Executive Order 2020-18) which was set to expire April 30, has been extended through May 15, with some amendments.

Some of the amendments to the original “Stay Home” order include:

  • Effective May 4, allowing retailers that are not classified as essential under Executive Order 2020-12 and whose business involves the sale of goods, to operate and offer goods through delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-thru, etc.
  • Effective May 8, retailers that are not classified as essential under Executive Order 2020-12, and whose business involves the sale of goods, may open, operate and offer goods for sale to customers in their stores provided they establish and implement protocols and best practices for businesses to address COVID-19 as detailed in the Order.

Read the April 29 Executive Order 2020-33, “Returning Stronger,” here.

For additional COVID-19-related updates from the State of Arizona, visit https://arizonatogether.org. For health-related information from the Arizona Department of Health Services, visit https://www.azdhs.gov/index.php.

Join a Day of Giving to Help Area Nonprofits Feeling the Impact of Coronavirus

Arizona Gives Day 2020 is April 7

Nearly 1,000 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations have registered for the 24-hour online fundraising event, Arizona Gives Day, which begins at 12:01am Tuesday, April 7.

Last year, Arizona Gives Day raised $3.6 million to bring the total since 2013 to $17 million, “but we’ve never gone into Arizona Gives Day in such an uncertain environment making this year’s event even more critical for nonprofit organizations of every size in every community that are facing severe financial challenges in their ability to provide services and resources to their communities,” said Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits CEO Kristen Merrifield. “Our local nonprofit community is already reporting significant losses, decreases in staff and volunteer capacity and will likely see an increase in demand for services.”

Presented by FirstBank and in collaboration with Arizona Grantmakers Forum, Arizona Gives Day early giving, which began March 17, already has generated $233,000 for the 975 registered nonprofits and nearly $10,000 has been contributed to the Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund that gives donors the option to add donations at check out. All Emergency Relief Fund donations will be distributed evenly among all participating organizations.

A recent Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits survey put the projected financial impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic that has caused many cancellations and postponements reaching at a minimum of $36 million.

There are two ways to donate to Arizona nonprofits during this critical time:

  • Donate now during the early giving period or on Arizona Gives Day, tomorrow, April 7 at azgives.org
  • Donate directly to the Emergency Relief Fund: as an add-on at checkout once a donor gives to a particular nonprofit on Arizona Gives Day or by directly visiting azgives.org/relieffund

Donors may prefer to donate during a specific block of time on Arizona Gives Day to help a nonprofit win a Power Hour an earn additional funds from the prize pool. Arizona Gives Day, a collaboration between the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and the Arizona Grantmakers Forum, is an annual online giving movement uniting nonprofits to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Arizona through giving.

For interested donors, AzGives.org offers an advanced search filter to find nonprofits by specific criteria, area of focus, and which donations may qualify as an Arizona tax credit. Donors also can create an account to pre-schedule donations or can check out as a guest, set up recurring donations, and make changes to their giving throughout the year.

For more information, visit www.azgives.org


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Governor’s Office Provides Additional Guidance on Essential Services — Closures Effective April 4

The Governor’s Office today released additional guidance on essential services and recreational activities.

“During these unprecedented times, providing clarity for small businesses and employers is an important measure to ensure we protect our citizens, slow the spread of COVID-19, and protect this critical part of our economy,” said Gov. Doug Ducey. “As guidance from public health officials evolves, we will continue to release information and direction.”

On March 23, 2020, Gov. Ducey issued an Executive Order defining essential services. On March 30, 2020, following new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and recommendations from the Arizona Department of Public Health, Gov. Ducey issued an Executive Order directing Arizonans to Stay Home, Stay Healthy, and Stay Connected, which included increased physical distancing requirements. According to today’s release from the Governor’s office:

If not already closed, the following services shall cease operations no later than 5pm April 4, 2020, as these services cannot comply with the guidelines required in paragraph 11 of Executive Order 2020-18, directing Arizonans to Stay Home, Stay Healthy, and Stay Connected.

  • Barbers 
  • Cosmetology, Hairstyling, Nail Salons and Aesthetic Salons 
  • Tanning salons
  • Tattoo parlors
  • Spas
  • Massage parlors

In addition, the following services shall also cease operations by 5pm Saturday, April 4:

  • Amenities at public parks that do not allow for recommended physical distancing or proper hygiene such as basketball courts, splash pads, playgrounds and public restrooms but public parks shall remain open to the greatest extent possible.
  • Communal pools such as those at hotels, condominiums, apartment complexes and parks, however, these should still be maintained under environmental and public health rules and guidelines.
  • Swap meets

The Governor’s Office also provided guidance related to the following services, which they are considering essential and may continue operations:

  • Personal hygiene services including in-home services such as assistance with bathing and cleaning for vulnerable adults and those who are disabled.
  • Daycare centers providing care for individuals with children serving in any essential services category. 
  • Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging, including RV Parks, and hotel and motel restaurants providing delivery or carryout food services.
  • Respite and palliative care.

For continuing updates from the Governor’s office and resources for individuals, visit https://arizonatogether.org.

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