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Mayor Bill de Blasio Supports Delivery Fee Cap Ahead of City Council Vote

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The proposed bill caps food delivery fees for restaurants at up to 20 percent during the pandemic

A Grubhub delivery person checks his phone during the coronavirus pandemic on May 3, 2020 in New York City.
A Grubhub delivery person in NYC
Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Mayor Bill de Blasio has come out in support of a proposed bill that would cap food delivery fees for restaurants in NYC — a move that restaurants have been lobbying for to alleviate financial pressure as they rely on delivery orders during the novel coronavirus crisis.

In a press conference on May 12, de Blasio said that he was in favor of a proposed bill to cap food delivery commission fees at up to 20 percent while restaurants are restricted to takeout and delivery during the COVID-19 emergency.

“I do support that legislation,” de Blasio said in response to a question regarding where he stood on the bill. “We want to make sure people are treated fairly and [NYC City Council] saw something that wasn’t fair to everyday people going through so much. I think it’s smart legislation so I will support it.”

City council members debated the proposed bill in a virtual hearing on April 29. If the legislation passes, third-party delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash — which own Seamless and Caviar, respectively — can only charge up to 5 percent for orders submitted through the platforms, and up to 15 percent for delivery fulfillment. Fines for violations will run up to $1,000 per restaurant per day.

The City Council is expected to vote on the bill soon. Eater has reached out for more information on the impending decision.

The current bill is an extension of proposed legislation regulating delivery services that was introduced to the City Council in February, before the pandemic put the city into a state of emergency. Restaurants have long been fighting with delivery services over the exorbitant fees that they charge for orders placed through their apps — and, in some cases, allegedly charging bogus fees for phone calls that didn’t result in orders.

Restaurant industry trade groups including the NYC Hospitality Alliance and the New York State Restaurant Association have been pushing local legislators to enact an emergency cap on food delivery fees since restaurants were first restricted to delivery and takeout orders in mid-March.

Other cities have already enacted emergency food delivery fee caps amid the pandemic. San Francisco Mayor London Breed signed an order on April 10 capping the fees at 15 percent for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. Seattle issued its own emergency 15 percent fee cap two weeks later, and Washington, D.C., followed suit in May. In the immediate area, the mayor of Jersey City signed an executive order last week capping food delivery fees at 10 percent.

Update, 5:30 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect recent changes to the proposed bill. Instead of a 10 percent cap on all third-party delivery service fees, order commissions will now be capped at 5 percent and delivery fulfillment fees will be capped at an additional 15 percent.

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