HONOLULU — Thursday, Gov. David Ige announced that an additional 32,000 Hawaii Restaurant Cards will be issued to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimants on Nov. 20, just in time for Thanksgiving.
Additionally, he announced the launch of the new HRC-Business Holiday Card, inspired by the Hawai‘i Restaurant Card, which businesses statewide can now purchase for their employees to use at eateries during the holidays.
The HRC-Business Holiday Cards are available to be purchased until Dec. 10, and available in dominations from $5 to $1,000 a card. Once businesses order the cards for their employees through the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i, it takes three weeks to receive them.
Unlike the original Hawaii Restaurant Card, the HRC-Business Holiday Card is not funded by Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, so this card will not expire until March 31, 2021.
However, according to the state, all card-printing, processing and operational costs will be underwritten by the state using the federal CARES Act funds. The cards will be mailed in bulk directly to the organization, and like the initial HRC, will be preloaded, prepaid debit cards that can be used at Hawai‘i restaurants, eateries, bakeries and food caterers that accept debit Mastercard.
The state said the idea of extending the HRC program to include the private sector came from local attorney Gordon Arakaki. He approached the state with the possibility of incorporating private businesses in this economic-stimulus initiative.
The collaboration of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Restaurant Association and the Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation made this new card possible.
Rick Wacker, CEO of American Savings Bank, is excited to hear about this new program.
“When we first heard about this, we thought it was a great idea,” Wacker said. “We are committed to purchasing 12,000 cards already. We hope to increase that amount in the next week.”
According to DBEDT, several other businesses have already committed to ordering the HRC–Business Holiday Card, including Bank of Hawai‘i, Central Pacific Bank, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawai‘i Medical Service Association, Hawai‘i Business Roundtable, Hawai‘i Pacific Health, Hawaiian Telcom, InSynergy Engineering, Outrigger Hotels &Resorts, Servco and Territorial Savings Bank.
To obtain the HRC–Business Holiday Card order form, visit moneynetwork.com/everywherereward.
For more information about the HRC–Business Holiday Card, visit the Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i website, cochawaii.org.
Stephanie Shinno, features, education, business, and community reporter can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.