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Supervisor Desmond Proposes County-Funded Restaurant Discounts

Patrons dining outside at Common Theory in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood of San Diego, Calif. August 5, 2020.
Alexander Nguyen
Patrons dining outside at Common Theory in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood of San Diego, Calif. August 5, 2020.

Supervisor Jim Desmond has proposed $50 million dollars of the county’s COVID-19 federal relief go towards what he calls the “Dine-Out and Help-Out” restaurant program.

The idea is to stimulate the local economy by allowing customers to receive 50% off their meals, or up to $10 per person. Restaurants are then reimbursed the full price of the meal through government payments.

A similar program was created in the United Kingdom.

VIDEO: Supervisor Desmond Proposes County-Funded Restaurant Discounts To Stimulate Economy

Lakeside Cafe owner Claudia Ortiz said a San Diego County program would help to offset challenges her business has recently faced, including a customer base that is below pre-pandemic levels and a food supply chain that’s become very unpredictable.

“There were things that we had to remove off our menu because we couldn't find, that we didn't have available, that our vendors didn't have available. Or they were either too pricey,” Ortiz said.

Desmond said the program will be offered on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and the only caveat is that alcohol will not be a refundable purchase.

“Restaurants sign up, they send their receipts, they get their money back through the efforts of the county,” Desmond said. “And when the money's gone it's gone.”

RELATED: California Restaurants Prepare For June Reopening

Ortiz said the money would aid her business and help customers who otherwise couldn't afford to eat at a restaurant due to economic hardship.

“I love it because it's something that can benefit the servers and employees, to gather more employees and to provide food for people who are not in the best circumstances. That’s amazing,” Ortiz said.

The supervisors will vote on whether to enact the “Dine-Out and Help-Out” program on June 8. If approved, Desmond said he plans for a start date of June 15 to coincide with the state’s loosening of COVID-19 restrictions.

Supervisor Desmond Proposes County-Funded Restaurant Discounts
Listen to this story by Jacob Aere.