“The partnership is a match made in heaven. Our goals are the same: to improve Tucson’s economy, to help Tucson restaurants and to promote health and safety in Tucson,” Messing said.
For Messing, boosting the financial health of the restaurants and struggling employees has also been an incentive.
His concern is valid: Arizona Restaurant Association (ARA) statistics indicate that currently 80 percent of restaurants still have furloughed full-time employees. Before the pandemic, the industry employed 230,000 people; the ARA estimates by the end of October that 40 percent of Arizona restaurants will be forced to close permanently, eliminating 92,000 jobs.
Messing recognized the impact of COVID-19 on restaurants that his family had frequented for years and also witnessed the immediate affect on local food trucks that he had become acquainted with while organizing Food Truck Friday events through the student government at The Gregory School.
“I developed really great relationships with many of them, and many of them were actually the first to become COVID Clean. I am happy to support them,” Messing said.
Among those are Bugaloo’s Soft Serve Ice Cream, which was started in 2013 by Adam and Jody Giacolone.
Adam said that Bugaloo’s added masks and gloves to its regular sanitizing routines in order to adhere to COVID Clean standards. He praises Messing for his foresight and is all-in on the effort to bring businesses back safely.
“Getting small businesses back open and running at full capacity is the most important thing in the country right now. For Drew being so young, starting COVID clean was really forward-thinking. He understood, even as a kid, that we need to get these small mom-and-pop business up and running safely, and people need to have confidence in them. I am really proud of him for doing something that really makes a difference,” Adam said.