To save local restaurants, Hawaii gives unemployed people $500 gift cards

Sometimes the solution to economic woes is simple: Give the people money. Hawaii is using $75 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to give $500 debit cards to around 100,000 unemployed people to spend at restaurants in the state. The Hawaii Restaurant Card, as the gift card is called, can be used to cover the entire bill, including alcohol purchases and tip. The idea is that it won’t just help out-of-work people eat, but also stimulate a sagging economy by giving a cash boost to struggling restaurants. That sounds a lot like the argument often made for why SNAP benefits should be increased—that the dollars have multiplier effects that also help grocers. And yet, despite the fact that the pandemic has decimated the hospitality industry, Hawaii is so far the only state to offer this kind of assistance, reports Business Insider. 

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