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Out of the box, into the bubble: Washington restaurants find creative ways to stay open through pandemic

From plastic domes to discount programs, restaurants are getting creative to boost customers' confidence amid the coronavirus pandemic.

SEATTLE — A Seattle restaurant said installing two large plastic domes outside was necessary in order to keep staff and customers safe.

San Fermo in Ballard is switching things up, again. This time, adjusting to the changing weather and what that means for outside dining.

"I ordered these two months ago because I knew that it was going to change,” explained San Fermo owner Tim Baker.

The restaurant is installing two plastic domes with one table in each.

"You literally get to eat in your own bubble,” said Baker.

Servers won’t step foot inside while diners are eating, and the dining space will be ventilated for 15 to 20 minutes between each group.

"We feel like it’s the safest place you could eat in our restaurant,” said Baker.

Baker said the several hours and thousands of dollars going into installing the domes will be worth it. Adding that the domes will help keep employees and customers safe, amid increasing COVID-19 cases.

“This is kind of an aggressive solution, but one that we thought was necessary,” said Baker.

Dining in a bubble or not, boosting customer confidence is a priority. Which is why Pierce County opted for its own unique solution.

Earlier this month, the county launched its Restaurant Rally program, reimbursing restaurants that offer a discount on meals. This week the program was updated to include take-out orders.

”We think it's a win-win," said Pierce County Council Vice Chair Dave Morell. "This is the first program that we're aware of that actually rewards consumers and gives them incentive with a 30% discount, and that discount can be used multiple times."

The Restaurant Rally program will run Nov. 8-12 and 15-19, excluding Fridays or Saturdays.

Click here for more information about the Restaurant Rally program.

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