The County of Orange today announced the launch of a new SafeDineOC COVID-Safe Restaurant Campaign to incentivize Orange County restaurants to follow California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Our restaurant owners across Orange County need help right now, and we need to take steps wherever possible to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel, Second District. “These grants give financial support to those owners to help cover costs that they are incurring to offer a safe, protected dining experience to their customers and workers.”
Restaurant owners may apply for a $1,000 grant per Orange County restaurant location for taking steps to create a COVID-safe environment for their customers and employees. The grant will reimburse restaurants for purchases of personal protective equipment including face masks, cleaning products, employee training and costs for physical distancing of tables and chairs, as examples.
“Restaurants drive our local economy, create thousands of jobs and generate millions in local tax revenue,” said Vice Chairman Andrew Do, First District. “SafeDineOC is a product of a proposal I brought to the board in mid-July to increase COVID-19 restaurant safety compliance while also supporting small businesses that are keeping their employees and customers safe.”
The SafeDineOC campaign is sponsored by the County of Orange and managed by Orange County Business Council (OCBC), which will handle intake and approval of all restaurant applications as well as disbursement of the $1,000 grants to restaurant owners. Through its comprehensive database of restaurants, the OC Health Care Agency will ensure the promotion of the campaign to all restaurant owners in the County.
“SafeDineOC will assist restaurants with some funds to defray some of their extra expenses. It will also offer the public information on which restaurants in Orange County are participating in this program,” said Supervisor Don Wagner, Third District. “Consumers need to be given resources and the Orange County Business Council is helping ensure people are able to locate safe dining options in Orange County during this time.”
Restaurants that apply and are approved will be added to a list of COVID-safe eateries organized by city that will be available to consumers on the SafeDineOC website. This online resource will enable the public to see which restaurants offer a safe dining experience in Orange County
“Orange County businesses are challenged at this time, especially our restaurants,” said Fourth District Supervisor Doug Chaffee. “We hope that the SafeDineOC program will provide relief not only to our restaurants but also to our residents who want to know where they can dine safely in Orange County at this time.”
The application form is in multiple languages and OCBC staff is available to answer questions. More information about the program may be found at www.ocbc.org/safedineoc/.
“Maintaining consumer confidence in the restaurant industry is critical to helping businesses stay afloat during these challenging times,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett. “When customers visit a restaurant, they want to be confident that it is clean and in compliance with County health and safety guidelines,” said Bartlett. “The safety and protection of restaurant workers, and the customers they serve, is paramount to stopping the spread of COVID-19,” she said.
Restaurants that apply for the program must meet all qualifications which will be verified by OCBC. Funds will be distributed within 45 days. All restaurants must submit receipts for CARES ACT-qualified purchases for final reimbursement grant payment on purchases made March 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020.
“We all want to visit OC restaurants and feel safe,” said Orange County Business Council President Lucy Dunn. “The Board of Supervisors created a great program to reward restaurants that follow health protocols for today’s outdoor dining as well as preparing for future dine-in service when the time comes. OCBC commends the Board of Supervisors for their response. Innovative ideas and solutions like SafeDineOC ensure Orange County will remain on a path toward both good health and economic recovery.”
For more information about SafeDineOC, go to www.ocbc.org/safedineoc/.