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Dinner and a movie? Our BRAVO program supports local businesses to help keep COVID-19 off the menu.

More tacos. Less worry.

“Money is never going to be more important than their health and safety,” says Red Star Taco Bar co-owner Billy Beckett. He cares about the safety of employees, customers and our community.  

That’s why he helped spearhead our BRAVO program. Businesses that choose to take part will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for customers to enter. 

Five businesses have already joined the pilot, and more are showing interest.

Pierce County doesn’t require patrons to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, like some other counties. But Beckett believes requiring vaccinations for staff and guests at Red Star gives everyone some helpful assurance. 

“This is a place people can come and be safe,” he said. “They know everyone in the business is vaccinated.” 

The concept has other perks, too. 

“We saw steady growth all the way up to today as far as sales, and guests are coming back,” Beckett said.

‘Tons and tons of positive feedback.’

Beckett isn’t the only one seeing these results. Four other businesses already joined: ALMACrudo & CottoEdison City Ale House and the Grand Cinema. These owners and operators are banding together to protect Pierce County’s health and well-being and they want others to do the same.

Vaccination keeps everyone safer. Most recent hospitalized cases are unvaccinated. Since the beginning of December, unvaccinated people in Washington are up to 14 times more likely to be hospitalized. 

When Beckett brought the idea to his staff, everyone jumped at the chance. 

“Every single one of (the staff) wanted us to put it in place, and we did,” Beckett said. 

The first two weeks were “rough,” Beckett said. A vocal minority from both in and out of Pierce County blasted the restaurant online. A few in-house guests complained. But soon, people searched out the safer environment Red Star is working to offer. 

“We’re getting tons and tons of positive feedback from the people who come here,” Beckett said.

‘This is the way forward.’

Beckett believes the BRAVO program is a way to reassure customers. 

“At the end of the day, it’s each business’s decision,” he said. “But this is the way forward.” 

Beckett sees why some businesses may be hesitant. Still, he thinks the pandemic has brought out the grit and resilience of Tacoma and Pierce County businesses. 

“You know, businesses have been kind of the front line of this throughout the entire pandemic,” he said. “Our staff has had to deal with all the changing regulations and tests and limits and things like that.” 

Strength in numbers helps. The more businesses that join, the quicker things may return to a sense of normalcy. 

“The more of us who band together and do this and make these policies and join the fight, the easier it will be for all of us,” Beckett said.

Join BRAVO or reserve your table.

We provide guidance and support for businesses that join. We also promote them on our website. 

Vaccines remain the best defense we have against COVID-19. Kids 5 and older are eligible to get vaccinated and everyone 12 and older should get booster shots.

Find your first, second or booster dose today at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture. If you need a ride to an appointment or can’t easily leave your home, we can help! Call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

And you can do even more to help stop the spread.

You can always help build trust with reliable information. Subscribe to the Your Reliable Source blog for our latest news and info.

Co-owner of Red Star Taco Bar stand in front of his kitchen.