Modified: December 4, 2020 10:41am
As local restaurants have been forced to close dining rooms and offer takeout only, Erie County Legislator John Mills has introduced a local law that would cap the fees delivery services like Uber Eats, Grub Hub, or Door Dash are able to charge small businesses during a declared emergency such as COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced hundreds of restaurants throughout Erie County to alter their business models and under the current Orange Zone restrictions, dining establishments that wish to stay open are left to rely on takeout orders. Many use third party services for delivery, despite the high fees that are associated with doing business with them. The proposed law would prohibit third-party food delivery services from charging a delivery fee that totals more than 15% of the purchase price of each online order. It would also cap other service fees at 5% of the total order.
Other counties in New York State have enacted similar legislation and received positive feedback (Board moves to cap third party delivery service fees on takeout orders). The same legislation was also introduced in Ontario, Canada in November (Toronto Sun: Ontario government to cap fees on food delivery in lockdown areas). If approved in Erie County, the law would end the cap 90 days after a state of emergency has ended.
Legislator Mills said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the restaurant industry hard. They have been faced with complete closure, operating at limited capacity, and operating by take-out only. Fees from third-party delivery service apps just add to the frustration. We need to get this law passed to ease the burden on local restaurants trying to survive.”
A copy of the proposed local law can be found here.