comscore Restaurant group drafts petition seeking state help | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Restaurant group drafts petition seeking state help

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA/CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                 At Zippy’s on Vineyard, they’ve instituted take-out only food. Barriers in front of counter. A plastic bowl and tray is used for payments.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA/CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    At Zippy’s on Vineyard, they’ve instituted take-out only food. Barriers in front of counter. A plastic bowl and tray is used for payments.

  • STAR-ADVERTISER / 2012
                                The Zippy’s Restaurant on Vineyard Boulevard.

    STAR-ADVERTISER / 2012

    The Zippy’s Restaurant on Vineyard Boulevard.

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA/CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Zippy’s cashier Sylvia Noneza wipes down the counter between customers picking up orders.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA/CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Zippy’s cashier Sylvia Noneza wipes down the counter between customers picking up orders.

The Hawaii Restaurant Association has sent out an urgent plea for signatures on a petition seeking state government help so that restaurants may sustain themselves through the COVID-19 crisis.

“Our industry will not survive the upcoming weeks without significant assistance,” the association said in a statement today.

By midnight, the group hopes to collect 1,000 names, chairman Tom Jones said in the statement.

Among its request: tax relief, help providing health insurance to workers laid off and the ability to sell off unopened liquor.

Last week’s mandates closing bars and ending dine-in operations has had a “very swift and deleterious impact” on the industry, Jones said. “Most other full service restaurants serving take out meals are experiencing sales decreases of up to 80%.”

Many establishments — buffets, hot-pot and yakiniku restaurants, for example — simply cannot make the conversion to takeout only, he said.

Jones noted that the industry provided 98,900 jobs in 2019, 15% of the state’s employment.

The association is seeking “financial safety nets,” including:

>> A government call for abatement of rent and mortgage payments on the part of landlords and lending institutions

>> Abatement of sales and payroll taxes for the first and second quarters

>> Forgiveness of late fees on general excise tax payments for up to six months

>> Dollar-for-dollar tax credits for employers who cover employee health insurance during layoffs

>> Statewide abatement of utility and municipal fees until 60 days after the mandate is lifted

>> Unemployment for restaurant employees matching their average wages over two quarters

>> Allowing the sale of unopened alcoholic beverages by restaurants and bars

>> A call for health insurance providers to extend benefits for employees who are laid off

Those interested in signing the petition are directed to a spreadsheet: bit.ly/hrapetition

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