Citing figures showing COVID-19 infections have risen more across the rest of the state than in Pima County in recent weeks, Garcia said he believes the curfew has helped.
“What you’re starting to see is a plateau, and perhaps the beginning of a downslope,” he said. “I believe we have good evidence that this curfew has had a salubrious effect.”
But Cohen said the county has no proof that COVID-19 spreads any faster after 10 p.m. and noted that the plaintiff bars have continued their safety measures and not allowed patrons to violate mask policies before or after 10 p.m.
“There is no rational basis that COVID-19 spreads more after 10 o’clock than before 10 o-clock,” he said. The effectiveness of the county’s curfew at helping limit COVID’s spread is uncertain and likely small, and could actually be driving more people to large private events which are considered unsafe, he added.
But Cohen said the impact of the curfew on the plaintiff businesses is huge, Cohen said, citing the testimony of bar owners and employees who all said their businesses would close if the curfew continued much longer.
Grant Krueger, who owns Union Public House, and two sister restaurants at St. Philip’s Plaza as well as The Maverick on East Tanque Verde Road, said the curfew unfairly penalized businesses like his that stay open late, even though they have shown they can operate safely during legal hours.
The curfew “would certainly kill The Maverick,” Krueger said.
The notion that the bars could go out of business and quickly reopen is untrue, he added.