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Pierce County to offer discounts for dine-in, takeout at restaurants in November

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Pierce County is expanding an upcoming program that will give people dining at restaurants a discount on their meals.

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The program will take 30% off customers’ bills, and restaurants will be reimbursed for that discount with money from the CARES Act.

The measure is aimed at helping restaurants struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.

“This Emergency Ordinance is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the County government and its existing institutions because businesses in Pierce County are at risk of imminent failure, which threatens the public’s ability to meet its basic health and safety needs and threatens tax revenue streams that County government relies upon to provide essential government services,” the measure reads.

The original proposal only covered in-person dining, but after a recommendation from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and a subsequent unanimous vote by the county council, it will now also include takeout.

More than 250 restaurants have already applied to be a part of the program, with $7.5 million set aside. Participating restaurants can receive up to $90,000 in funds each to cover the cost of reimbursement.

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The program will be temporary, running during a two-week promotional period between Nov. 8 and Nov. 19, excluding Fridays and Saturdays. It also does not include discounts on alcohol purchases.

In early October, Gov. Jay Inslee relaxed several restrictions on restaurants, allowing them to serve alcohol as late as 11 p.m. Capacity at tables was increased to six people for counties in Phase 2, and eight in Phase 3. Inslee also eliminated a restriction that made it so you could only dine at restaurants with members of your own household.

On a larger scale, Pierce County continues to struggle as COVID-19 cases tick up. As of Tuesday, it reported 132.7 cases per every 100,000 residents over a 14-day period.

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