WAIKIKI, Hawaii (KHON2) — COVID restrictions have lifted in Hawaii, so when will free food samples make a comeback?

Some businesses have already started giving them out.

Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8

Lappert’s Hawaii in Waikiki is back to serving samples of ice cream and customers are loving it.

One family visiting from San Francisco said it had been over two years since they were given any type of food for free.

“We just wanted to try and we just wanted to try a couple different flavors cause we weren’t gonna get them all, but yeah, it definitely helped us,” said Monika Ali.

“I was like, ‘Alright, I mean, I guess we can try it!'” said Monika’s husband, Zaheed. “At first when she gave it to me I was like, ‘Uh, it’s been two years since somebody gave me a sample!’ So I think I was a little nervous at first but then I think I was comfortable after I took it.”

Local Costco locations are also back to their sample stands, as well as Sam’s Club. Another spot to grab a quick snack is Tropical Farms macadamia nuts in Kaneohe. They first shut down due to COVID and were not allowed to hand out their tasty treats upon reopening.

“But then not being able to do samples was just like ‘What are we going to do?’ Like that’s our livelihood basically,” said Tropical Farms general manager Stevie-Jeanne Tufaga.

Tropical Farms went to individual cups for awhile but are now back to a bowl-and-tongs system — swapping out the tongs every few minutes.

“And then they get the taste and it helps them to make their decision,” Tufaga said. “It just makes their time with us more like an experience than just like a shopping stuff, you know?”

The Department of Health Food Safety Branch said special event permits are only required for samples that are not individually packaged, which is the same policy as before the pandemic.

“Whether you need a permit or not is what you’re sampling,” said DOH Food Safety Branch program manager Peter Oshiro. “So if you’re actually handling the food on site and portioning it and giving it to a customer, you’re going to need a special event permit.”

Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8

Plumeria House at the Kahala Hotel will be doing a 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. buffet on Easter Sunday, if you are looking for an Easter meal. Spots are filling up fast, so call (808)-739-8760 for reservations.