The chairman of the Maryland Republican Party and his wife, an Anne Arundel County Council member, say they will spend $10,000 on meals at local restaurants and caterers to ease some of the financial pressures brought on by the response to COVID-19.
Dirk and Jessica Haire announced the plan on Tuesday and said they will spend $10,000 of their own money in an attempt to help some businesses in their county.
“The idea is that anybody can do this,” said Dirk Haire. “We’re just trying to see if we can get it going with some personal funds and see if others will join in.”
Haire, a partner at Washington DC-based Fox Rothschild, said they came up with the idea two days ago after hearing from so many small businesses express concerns about staying open.
Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan closed entertainment venues and ordered bars and restaurants to stop allowing dine in customers but allowed carry out and delivery services.
Haire said he and his wife are trying to help as many as they can but haven’t determined a full list of restaurants to with which to partner. New venues will be posted daily on Councilwoman Jessica Haire’s facebook page.
“We are making it up as we go along,” he said.
On Wednesday, the couple will pay the first $25 of each carryout order for the first 40 people who call Skipper’s Pier in Deale, MD and ask for “Dinner on Jessica and Dirk.”
They’ll pay for the same number of meals on Thursday for customers who order from Glory Days Grille in Edgewater.
Haire said Skipper’s Pier was trying to determine how many employees to bring in on Wednesday after it started receiving calls about the event on Tuesday.
On Friday, the couple said they will cater dinner for police officers at the Southern District of the Anne Arundel County Police Department. The meal will be catered by Julie St. Marie Catering.
“She has five employees and has been worried about how she’s going to keep them on,” said Haire.
All of the initial businesses are in Jessica Haire’s council district but Dirk said the plan is to expand a little.
And Haire said other local branches of the party are considering similar offerings.
“The goal is to be observant of the CDC guidelines and social distancing and help some small, local businesses,” he said.