Member Call to Action- BILL 40

We at the Hawaii Restaurant Association desperately need your support.  As many of our members rush to be in compliance with Honolulu County’s (DFWO) Disposable Food Ware Ordinance’s January 1st deadline, we are calling ALL our members to action.

If you didn’t know already – The Hawaii Restaurant Association & The Hawaii Food Industry Association are requesting a grace period of 3 months starting from 01-01-21 till 03-30-21 to allow time for an industry exemption to be granted. This period will be vital for local food businesses.

Many local restaurants, food trucks, and other businesses that serve prepared food have all suffered extreme financial hardship due to COVID-19. These businesses, many of them small have endured innumerable losses as this pandemic continues to ravage our community.

A high percentage of Hawaii’s restaurants had to close suddenly during the first lockdown. This resulted in 100% loss of revenue and not being able to sell food that had already been purchased for sale.

Almost, if not all of our industry – that has managed to stay in business had to switch to takeout or curbside services for extended periods. With the new Tiered system in place all dine-in must operate under strict guidelines and at severely reduced capacity. We have also had to add and create new safety procedures and protocols increasing operating costs which have to be passed onto our customers.

The new high demand for takeout utensils has increased radically, creating shortages and substantially increasing costs to businesses, which either have to be absorbed as a loss or made up for in increasing menu prices.

Medium sized and smaller businesses often cannot afford to stockpile compliance ready food ware that far in advance – and there simply will not be enough supplies for all local businesses to come be compliant with DFWO (Ordinance 19-30) by the implementation date.

We immediately need an industry exemption to give all of Honolulu’s food industry adequate time to come into compliance given the new and unanticipated challenges that COVID-19 has created for complying with DFWO.

The earliest that an industry exemption would be granted would be late January. This will mean that some businesses will either be forced to temporarily close until the exemption is granted or risk a $1000 fine. Many Honolulu businesses are already on the brink of having to shut down permanently and will not survive either of these options.

We have already lost dozens of local food businesses to this pandemic. Now is the time to give all our local businesses the support they need to prevent further closures. Our restaurants are job creators and economic drivers, we are taxpayers, we are the sponsors of our community clubs and teams, and we are our neighborhood landmarks and homes away from home. In order to get through this crisis we need all of our members to support a grace period and a future industry exemption.

How you can make an impact will be by sending in requests in support of both our grace period and exemption. By sending in written requests in support of our efforts we feel confident as an Ohana, we can make a difference. Please send all requests directly to

Here is a link to a grace period template

Thank you to all, for your on-going support of our efforts as we fight for our industry’s survival.

“A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong”

~ Tecumseh



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