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Unemployed Americans living in Hawaii will be encouraged to dine out under the Aloha state’s newest economic plan.

Those receiving unemployment benefits since March 25 as a result of the pandemic will get a Hawaii Restaurant Card in the mail with $500 to spend at any restaurant in the state, Hawaii News Now reported.

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The meal card works like a debit card, allowing eaters to pay at their restaurant of choice, and leave a tip. The bill will be deducted from the card’s total amount, and the money will go to the restaurant, Hawaii news affiliate KHON2 reported. 

Kihei, HI, USA – 2013 November 9, 2016: Incidental people enjoying breakfast at Kihei Caffe across from Kalama Beach Park on the Hawaiian island of Maui, USA

The new program is aimed at keeping local eateries in business, and $75,000,000 of the CARES Act money will be used towards the program’s funding.

“According to the UHERO study that evaluated the program, it would nearly double its economic impact for our local businesses,” said Hawaii Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Sherry Menor McNamara.

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Restaurants were among the hardest hit industries during the COVID-19 pandemic, and governments globally have been taking different approaches to help revive businesses. Government officials in London in August launched its “Eat Out to Help Out” campaign, aiming to bring back eaters to restaurants by offering them 50% off the price of their meal.

Hawaii’s $500 restaurant cards, which will be valid through Dec. 15, will reportedly be mailed out in the coming weeks to unemployed residents who qualify, according to KHON2.


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