Federal Way scrambling to help local restaurants in wake of new Covid restrictions

The city of Federal Way is scrambling to help local restaurants survive in the wake of new state restrictions.

Because of rising Covid-19 numbers, indoor dining is banned until at least the middle of December.

At Black Bear Diner in Federal Way, owner Danny Banwait says since the governor’s announcement to restrict dining inside, he has been forced to lay of 90 percent of his staff at a time when they were all ramping up for Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

“We were getting ready, stocking up, and preparing with employees for the holidays,” said Banwait. “For us to just get shut down right away impacted a lot of us and our employees.”

That is one of the reasons Jim Ferrell, the mayor of Federal Way, is pushing to get immediate financial help to restaurants.

The city has about $550,000 left of a federal grant program designed to help the community during the pandemic.

Ferrell says now all of that money will go to local restaurants to help keep them afloat.

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“They’re such a part of the fabric of our community and a huge part of our businesses,” said Ferrell. “We need to do everything we can to support them. This is low hanging fruit and money we’ve got right now and we need to get it out the door.”

More than 100 restaurants have already applied for the grant. Ferrell estimates most restaurants will get about $5,000.

Banwait says it will definitely help, but everyone agrees restaurants will need their local communities to rally around them as well, and continue to order delivery and take-out to keep them in business until the restrictions are lifted.