State: Safeguards ensure Hawaii restaurant cards can’t be misused

State: Safeguards ensure Hawaii restaurant cards can’t be misused
Hawaii restaurant card (file) (Source: HNN)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Contrary to rumors on social media, Hawaii’s recently rolled out restaurant cards for the unemployed can’t be used for things other than a good meal.

The $500 restaurant cards for the unemployed are incapable of being spent at stores like Costco, officials said. Rumors have circulated about people using the cards to purchase TVs.

The state and restaurant association says the cards are programmed to only work at restaurants and bakeries.

Although the rumors of improper use are false, there are examples of people trying to sell the cards online. Those who purchase a card will be out of luck, however, because they are non-transferable.

The state says restaurants will ask to see a cardholders ID.

Restaurants say the concerns are outweighed by the benefits.

“Many restaurants saw a huge increase in sales and they are just thrilled so they are I think they are having a positive impact for the people receiving it and the restaurants the the entire supply chain,” Tambara Garrick of the Hawaii Restaurant Association, said.

The cards are funded with $75 million in federal CARES act money.

So far about 50,000 recipients have activated their cards. Anyone caught trying to sell their card risks losing the money.

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