Pierce County officials have reallocated CARES Act funding to help restaurants survive tough times brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
"We’re seeing their revenue losses between 60 and 90 percent, so they’ve really been hit hard,” said Betty Capestany, the Pierce County Economic Development Director.
Pierce County Council Vice Chair Dave Morell said the idea was fostered out of an emergency need to help restaurants keep their doors open and restore customer confidence in the restaurant industry during a time of ongoing state mandated health restrictions.
"It's a great idea on how to support the restaurant industries, not only to preserve and support employment within those industries, but also reward all of us zooming in, zooming out of meetings and dealing with the kids,” said Morell.
The program, being called Restaurant Rally, allows businesses to offer a 30% discount on meal tabs. The discount will only be available to customers dining-in at participating restaurants.
Participating restaurants will be eligible to receive up to 50% of gross sales for dine-in meals. Restaurants will be reimbursed between $5,000- $90,000 a week, depending on the size of the restaurant.
The promotion period hasn't been set yet, but Morell says the program is slated to run for a 2-week period sometime before Thanksgiving.
This week, Gov. Jay Inslee loosened some restrictions on restaurants. Counties in Phase 2 can increase table sizes to six people and alcohol service was extended from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.
On Friday, Pierce County Health Department officials said coronavirus cases were on the rise.
Morell says restaurants are taking extra precautions.
"These restaurants are all following above and beyond the governor’s guidelines for cleanliness for no touch, soap dispensers, a lot of them have no touch doors, they’ve added more staff to clean facilities,” said Morell.
Participating restaurants will be required to adhere to the state’s “Safe Start” reopening plan and public health guidance.