Unemployed workers in Hawaii to get $500 to spend at local eateries

Updated: Sep. 30, 2020 at 3:48 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - If you’re unemployed, the state wants you to go out to eat ― on the taxpayers' dime ― as part of a new program that’s seen as a way to keep eateries afloat.

Under the $75 million program, funded with federal CARES Act dollars, those receiving jobless benefits will get a $500 “Hawaii Restaurant Card” that can be used at any eatery in the state.

It was not immediately clear if there were other eligibility restrictions.

People will not have to apply for the program but will receive it automatically in the mail.

The $500 card must be spent by Dec. 15.

Sherry Menor McNamara, president and CEO and Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, said the non-transferable card will be registered in the unemployed person’s name.

“This program is a win-win,” said Menor McNamara, adding that it will help struggling restaurants across the state and have a positive ripply effect on the broader economy.

She said the card can be used at any Hawaii restaurant for meals or drinks, including alcoholic beverages. It cannot be used, however, at grocery stores or any other establishments.

This story will be updated.

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