County Council extends restaurant reimbursement program

The main course on the Pierce County Council’s menu at its Oct. 27 meeting was making a tasty idea to help the restaurant industry endure the COVID-19 pandemic even more palatable.

The council unanimously approved Proposal No. 2020-114 to extend its Restaurant Rally program to include curbside and take-out eateries, modifying the original Oct. 6 ordinance that covered only dine-in restaurants.

“As a reminder, the restaurant support program provides financial assistance to the local restaurant industry by encouraging patronage of full-service restaurants and provides funding to restaurants that participate in the program…” senior legislative analyst Hugh Taylor said, noting more than 250 restaurants have applied to participate.

Between Nov. 8-12 and Nov. 15-19, customers will receive a 30-percent discount on purchases at participating restaurants. In turn, dining establishments will receive 50 percent reimbursement. Payments will be received on gross sales and will exclude alcohol.

The $7.5 million used to subsidize the county restaurant industry comes from federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding. The decision to include curbside and take-out orders was regarded as a necessary pivot by the council, considering the financial fallout from COVID-19 that has hit food service workers especially hard.

“I appreciate the shift here,” Councilmember Marty Campbell said. “It’s needed. I wish we could open it up to more different types of restaurants because I think there are restaurants that operate on a very similar model, but they just filed for a different classification with the state, but would benefit exactly the same as other restaurants.”

County Economic Development Director Betty Capestany said she would keep the council apprised of how the money is being spent.


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