Pierce County Council extends CARES Act relief to support Restaurant Rally restaurants, local food banks

Hundreds of Pierce County restaurants will receive additional funds as part of the council's unanimous vote to extend the CARES Act relief funds and create a program to support a dozen local food banks amid the latest COVID-19 restrictions.

On Tuesday, the Pierce County Council unanimously passed the legislation, extending the CARES Act to reimburse 100% gross sales to Restaurant Rally program businesses. Previously, the reimbursement was set at 50%. The reimbursement excludes alcohol and third-party orders for the two-week period ending Nov. 19. 

Nearly 300 local restaurants participate in the program. This extension comes merely days after Inslee announced restaurants to close indoor service untili Dec. 14th and limit outdoor dining, set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday.

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“Due to the Governor’s guidelines we have to shut down all indoor dining as of tonight,” Councilmember Dave Morell said Tuesday in a statement from the council. “A number of restaurants have ordered supplies, have food on hand and have incurred expenses for in-person dining that this ordinance helps mitigate as they prepare to rollback service, or in some cases temporarily shut down.”

Funds will be given to businesses who submit receipts outlined in the program. The increased reimbursement will come from the existing $7.5 million in funds from the CARES Act, previously dedicated to the program. 

Related: Gov. Inslee issues new restrictions to slow spread of COVID-19 in Washington state

In addition to the restaurant funds, a new program will food banks and their COVID-related expenses coverage. The program will provide up to $100,000 to specific Pierce County food banks. Under the Food Bank Assistance Program, 12 food banks will receive additional funds to cover operational expenses. Other food banks can still apply for reimbursements up to $20,000 for COVID-19 related expenses.