The first of the Hawai‘i Restaurant Cards are on their way to qualified residents this week.
Cards will begin arriving in mailboxes, beginning Oct. 16, kicking off the initiative of infusing $75 million in Federal CARES Act funds into the local economy.
The HRC Program provides Hawai‘i residents who filed an initial claim for Unemployment Insurance benefits beginning March 1 or thereafter and continue to meet additional CARES Act fund eligibility requirements with a preloaded, prepaid debit Mastercard® with $500 for use at restaurants, eating establishments, bakeries, and food caterers throughout the state.
Qualified individuals will automatically receive the card and have through Dec. 15 to expend the funds. There is no sign up required. The use of the Hawai‘i Restaurant Card will not impact SNAP and Medicaid benefits or eligibility.
The HRC Program is a public-private partnership between the State of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i, the Hawai‘i Restaurant Association, and the Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation.
The state’s belief is that the program, which came into fruition after Kurt Osaki of Osaki Creative Group shared the idea modeled after a program in London, will result in far-reaching economic benefits beyond restaurants, including the restaurant industry supply chain, farmers, ranchers, fisherman, produce suppliers, supply companies, and more.
The Hawai‘i Restaurant Card can be used statewide at restaurants, eateries, bakeries, and food caterers that accept Debit Mastercard®. The card is supported by Money Network from First Data, now Fiserv, and provides consumer protections available to traditional bank account owners including protections against fraud, loss, and other errors. The card can only be used for food and non-alcoholic beverage purchases. The card will not be accepted at grocery or convenience stores or for grab-and-go prepared meals.
To learn everything you need to know about the Hawai‘i Restaurant Card Program, visit the program’s website at www.HawaiiRestaurantCard.com. For questions related to your card balance, you can register online as a new user or call customer service toll free at 1-800-352-5202.