Mercer Island restaurants and food-service businesses lost thousands of dollars during a weeklong boil-water alert that ended last Wednesday, a financial hit that especially hurt small-business owners.
The city of Mercer Island and Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce are hoping the Dine Local campaign they launched Monday will help businesses catch up financially. Until the boil-water alert, prompted by an E. coli-scare, was lifted, more than 60 businesses were forced to shut or operate with smaller menus approved by Public Health – Seattle & King County.
Many business owners, including Subway franchisee Rebecca Wilson, are doubtful that their insurance coverage will help them get through a cash-strapped October. She was forced to keep the location closed throughout the boil-water alert, but still had to pay employees.
“Community support is critical after so many days of closure,” said Wilson in a release about the Dine Local campaign. “It takes a village to recover from an incident like this, and without any prospect of help from our insurance company, we are especially grateful for the efforts of the city and chamber to promote dining out on the Island.”
Mercer Island water samples had tested negative for six days when the boil-water alert was lifted last week, and samples have continued to test clean since then. A source of contamination that surfaced at the end of September was never found, but the city has asked water-system specialists at Confluence Engineering Group to continue investigating possible sources of contamination.
The city is asking its residents — and anyone else who feels for business owners who had no control over the city’s recent E. coli scare — to do five things:
- Dine out or shop at a Mercer Island food business (map)
- Buy gift certificates from Mercer Island restaurants
- Tip wait-staff well
- Try a new restaurant and write a review
- Spread the word and organize a “dine-out day” on Mercer Island with a group.