HONOLULU — Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell agreed to delay the enforcement of a plastic utensils ban on businesses in the Hawaii island of Oahu by 90 days.
Businesses on Oahu that serve prepared food will now have until March 31 to use up their existing stock of plastic utensils under the mayor’s extension announced Thursday.
The Hawaii Restaurant Association and Hawaii Food Industry Association had been asking Caldwell to delay enforcement of the ordinance that was scheduled to begin Jan. 1 because of economic issues throughout the industry caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The restaurant industry is one of our largest industries here in urban Honolulu,” Caldwell said. “It employed, prior to the pandemic, 55,000 people, generating billions of dollars in revenue. and they’re really hurting. Many of them hang on by their fingernails hoping for that brighter summer that is coming, but they need to get to that summer. And so every additional cost that we place on them makes it harder for them to live into that brighter summer.”
The plastics ban had been approved by the Honolulu City Council in December 2019. The ordinance also includes plans to ban the distribution of plastic plates, bowls and other food items starting in 2022, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.