Eateries welcome infusion of business from Hawaii’s ‘restaurant card’ program

Updated: Oct. 16, 2020 at 4:43 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state’s new restaurant card program started Friday, giving tens of thousands of unemployed workers a $500 card to spend at Hawaii eateries.

Some businesses reported issues with the card being declined because they didn’t have a keypad to enter a debit PIN number or the card did not work for online takeout orders.

But other restaurants — like Cafe Kaila at the Market City shopping center — say they didn’t have any problems and they’re grateful for the business.

“They were happy to come to a restaurant sit down,” said Kale Shanks of Cafe Kaila.

“The restaurant card is super important for restaurants like us and all the restaurants just because every little bit helps and right now it’s such a challenging time."

The Hawaii Restaurant Card program is funded with $75 million in federal CARES Act funds.

Cards are being mailed out to 116,000 workers in the islands who were unemployed in September.

The state also plans to send cards to an additional 30,000 unemployed workers who applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance as independent contractors.

Funds must be spent by Dec. 15, and can be used at Hawaii restaurants, bakeries and caterers. Purchases are limited to food and non-alcoholic beverages.

To check your eligibility for the card or for more details, click here.

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