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Jersey City Joins Movement to Cap Delivery Platform Fees During Coronavirus

Plus, Gray’s Papaya has reopened for takeout and delivery on the Upper West Side — and more intel

GrubHub logo seen displayed on a smart phone. Grubhub Inc. Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Jersey City also looks to cap third-party delivery fees during coronavirus

Jersey City is yet another city looking to limit the fees of third-party delivery platforms like Grubhub and Uber Eats. Officials in the city are looking to place restrictions on the fees that the apps can charge restaurants during states of emergency, according to The Jersey City Council is expected to introduce legislation that would limit fees to 10 percent of the cost of a delivery order. Currently, companies like Grubhub charge as much as 35 percent of an order in commission and delivery fees. If passed by the council, Mayor Steve Fulop is expected to issue an executive order enacting the legislation immediately, rather than waiting a month for it to become law.

The ordinance would only be enforced during local-, state-, and federal-mandated states of emergency, when restaurants and bars are more reliant on delivery services to stay afloat. Delivery companies are, of course, opposed, with Grubhub spokesperson Jenna DeMarco saying the cap could have “unintended consequences for locally-owned businesses, delivery workers, diners, and the local economy,” though she did not specify what those would be outside of additional costs for the company.

Third-party deliverers can charge anywhere between 15 and 35 percent in commission for their services — and it’s not just restaurants who feel the squeeze. A recent report from the New York Times found that third-party fees directly affect how much food costs for a consumer, with some dishes priced as high as 91 percent more when delivered. Due to their impact on consumers and restaurant owners, these fees have become the subject of a new class-action lawsuit against delivery companies Grubhub, Doordash, UberEats, and Postmates.

In other news

— The Upper West Side location of Gray’s Papaya has reopened for takeout and delivery after closing for a month, the first time the hotdog chain has closed in 47 years. Gray’s will be bringing back its “recession special,” through which hospital staff and frontline workers can get two hotdogs and a drink for free.

— Most small businesses in the Bronx did not receive money through the city’s Department of Small Business Services COVID-19 relief program. But for one salumeria in the borough, the federal Paycheck Protection Program came through.

— Chelsea bakery, cafe, and cooking school Haven’s Kitchen has launched an online grocery store, with festive offerings like Mother’s Day totes and flower bouquets. The cafe will also be offering whole roasted chickens, frozen cookie dough, and meal kits for takeout from its West 17th Street storefront.

— Brooklyn restaurant, bar, and grocer Mekelburg’s is offering grocery and liquor delivery in Clinton Hill and Williamsburg through its own platform called Meksdirect. Additionally, both locations of the store have been converted into grocery stores, says owner Daniel Mekelburg.

— Restaurant and dining event Queens Taste has been canceled this year, a spokesperson for the Queens Economic Development Corporation has shared. The event, originally planned for May, had been postponed to October.

— A new organization called Creatives for Kitchens is offering small restaurant owners in NYC free design services in this time of need, a spokesperson for the organization says.

— Eataly’s Flatiron location is now offering Aperol spritz cocktail kits for delivery on Caviar.

— Ovenly is back open for takeout and delivery at its Greenpoint and Williamsburg bakeshops.

— The New York Times considers what will happen to neighborhoods that have blossomed in recent years due to restaurant booms.

— Another sign of the country’s impending meat shortages: A Brooklyn man attempted to shoplift $200 worth of meat from a grocery store in Flatbush.

— This town in Long Island is providing free online exercise classes and nutritional advice for its 200,000 residents.

— How the owner of Underground Pizza in the Financial District is getting it done, despite losing business.

— Don’t remind us:

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