New City & Chamber Program Aims to Help Out Local Restaurants

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A partnership between the city of Hermiston and the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce aims to spur residents to dine out more often at local restaurants.

The city recently received $50,000 as part of the American Recovery Plan Act and will use the money to provide coupons to people to use at local restaurants and eating establishments.

The chamber will administer the program using “Dining Dollars” coupons for local participating restaurants, as well as bulk gift cards from chain restaurants, and prepaid Visa cards for restaurants that don’t fall into either option.

Dining Dollars vouchers and restaurant direct gift cards will be in $10 increments.

In May, the Hermiston City Council voted to develop the program to help get more cash flowing to local restaurants. At the May 10 meeting, Mayor Dave Drotzmann said the pandemic has hit restaurants particularly hard.

“Restaurants have just been hammered time and time again this year,” he said. “We’re trying to do, as a city, what we can do to help support (restaurants) financially. If it’s successful and beneficial to the community, maybe we can look at expanding it as we get more resources.”

Twenty percent of the Dining Dollars and restaurant direct gift cards will be given to the city for distribution to utility holders. The remainder will be distributed by the chamber through Feature Fridays, Facebook promos and other public activities and events.

Distribution of coupons and gift cards will begin within the next two weeks, according to the city. Residents are encouraged to watch the chamber’s online and other communication channels for more information.

The program will run through December. All coupons will expire Dec. 31, 2021, while chain restaurant and Visa gift cards may have extended expiration dates.

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