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WIN! Pierce County Creates $7.5 Million Program to Help Restaurants

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The Pierce County Council will be using $7.5 million in CARES Act funding to create a new program aimed at keeping restaurants open amid the coronavirus pandemic.  The new program would offer dine-in customers a 30% discount—excluding alcohol purchases—at eligible restaurants during a two-week promotional period.  The council will create an ordinance to allow the new program; Council passed the ordinance which now goes to the Pierce County Executive for signature.

The Washington Hospitality Association in conjunction with local restauranteurs worked with the county to develop the program. Recognizing the need to preserve local jobs and encourage restaurants to fill vacant tables, Pierce County explored ways to utilize the funding to support local restaurants.  Your local government affairs team worked with the council to make recommendations on ways to utilize funding to support our local restaurants.  The $7.5 million allocation is part of a larger $18.5 million in CARES Act monies the county is using to provide additional assistance to veterans and residents negatively impacted by COVID-19.

To be eligible, a restaurant must be a licensed full-service restaurant designated with a NAICS Code 722511 on their business license, in operation before March 23, 2020 and continue to operate and be open to the public. The total amount of funding available to each restaurant cannot exceed $90,000. During the two-week promotional period eligible restaurants can receive compensation up to 50 percent of gross sales for dine-in meals, excluding alcohol, for each day. No participating restaurants will receive less than $5,000.

To participate, restaurants must enter into a written agreement with Pierce County and at a minimum must agree to:

  • Operate in accordance with the state’s “Safe Start” reopening plan and applicable federal, state and local public health guidance and directives;
  • Participate in the full-service restaurant promotion campaign outlined in the ordinance;
  • Provide all restaurant patrons with at least a 30 percent discount on dine-in meal purchases, excluding alcohol, during the two-week promotional period specified in the agreement unless modified by the local health officer; and
  • Provide documentation of gross sales of dine-in meals, excluding alcohol, and the value of discounts given for each eligible day during the two-week promotional period.

Should the local health officer determine it is unsafe for restaurants to offer dine-in service due to increasing COVID-19 case transmissions, the 30 percent discount can apply to take out meals during the two-week promotional period. More information about the promotional dine-in event, including participating restaurants and dates, will be shared once the program is operational.

The ordinance establishing the new restaurant program now goes to the Pierce County Executive for signature. Once signed by the County Executive, the Economic Development Department will begin program implementation and promotion in coordination with the Washington Hospitality Association and other relevant trade organizations. Restaurants interested in applying for the new program should check the Economic Development Department website, which will share information once the program is ready for applicants.

The remainder of the CARES Act funding will be allocated for residential rental assistance, commercial rent and mortgage assistance, veterans assistance and childcare programs. To read the details, click here.