I feel it is important to express my gratitude to all of you, our treasured members. Over the last quarter I want to thank those members who have shown support either through written testimonies, directly calling our elected officials, and being present at our many Zoom meetings.
A special Mahalo to Victor Lim, our Government Relations Lead who has spent countless hours submitting testimonies, attending hearings and leading our Government Relations update meetings. He is our “go to guy” for all of our legislative issues and for that our industry will be forever grateful, Mahalo nui loa Victor.
However, the work is not over. As we approach the end of this legislative session we encourage all of our members to get involved and brush up on the many bills that will impact the way we do business as we move forward with reopening.
President Biden’s $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), is part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, offers direct grants to restaurants, providing urgent relief to Hawaii’s struggling food service operations. Here is some useful information – the restaurants that have received PPP (either round 1 or 2) funding will be eligible for an RRF grant, but there are some catches, such as, RRF grant totals will be reduced by the amount of the PPP loan(s). For a better understanding please follow this link to the National Restaurant Associations RRF PDF reference guide. https://restaurant.org/downloads/pdfs/advocacy/understandingrrf – or – https://restaurant.org/articles/news/rrf-grant-applications-wont-require-a-duns-number
On April 8th HRA had a zoom call with Senator Hirono & SBA. We will keep you informed on all the updated details on filing for RRF and HRA will be organizing a webinar once all the final details are published. The speakers will be from the SBA.
HRA has our list of translators for anyone that needs support in filling out the RRF. We have volunteers that speak Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamense, Thai, French, all the Polyneisan languages and more.
The Ordinance No. 19-30 (AKA Bill 40 – The Plastics Bill), went into effect on April 1st, 2021. Here are the restrictions that were put into effect in Bill 40.
- Effective April 1, 2021:
- The Plastic Bag Ban will be amended to redefine “plastic checkout bag” and “plastic film bag,” which changes six (6) exemptions (including food products exemptions). There is also a new definition of “plastic.”
- No food vendor shall sell, serve, or provide disposable plastic service ware to customers.
- A food vendor may only provide or distribute disposable service ware for prepared food or beverage:
- upon request or affirmative response of a customer or person being provided prepared food or beverage, or
- in a self-service area or dispenser.
- Polystyrene foam food ware shall not be sold, provided, or offered for sale or use at any City facilities, City-authorized concession, City-sponsored or City-permitted events, or City programs.
More restrictions will be placed at the beginning of next year.
- Effective January 1, 2022:
- No food vendor shall sell, serve, or provide prepared food in polystyrene foam food ware or disposable plastic food ware to customers.
- No businesses shall sell polystyrene foam food ware, disposable plastic service ware, or disposable plastic food ware.
Hawaii Restaurant Association, Hawaii Food Industry Alliance & the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii filed a joint industry exemption. The Office of Environmental Services has 60 days from March 25th when we filed for the expansion to reply back to us. HRA will keep you updated.
We are in our 2nd quarter and with vaccines rolling out, I am more optimistic that we have turned the corner. As always, Hawaii Restaurant Association is here to support you, our food service industry. Feel free to contact me.