Local officials are asking state lawmakers to put a cap on fees delivery services charge restaurants during COVID-19


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Local elected officers throughout Massachusetts are urging state legislators to cap the charges third-party supply providers cost eating places till after the coronavirus state of emergency is over.

“We have heard many troubling first-hand accounts of the enormously detrimental effects that such fees can have on local restaurants,” the 29 officers from 11 cities and cities wrote in a letter Friday to State House leaders and members of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. “We believe that swift action by the Legislature to limit these fees would provide a desperately needed financial lifeline for many local restaurants struggling to survive. We look to you as state leaders to help our local businesses and the many people that they employ.”

As the state’s restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic have banned dine-in service at eating places, native eateries have turn into solely depending on takeout and supply service for income.

While charges differ throughout platforms, third-party supply corporations equivalent to Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates might cost eating places between 10 and 30 % per order for fee, in response to native officers, who say the costs have turn into a significant hurdle for eating places already struggling to remain in enterprise.

With 4 giant corporations making up a lot of {the marketplace}, restaurateurs face challenges in negotiating charges, which is why legislators must step in, they are saying.

But supply platforms say such a cap would damage the companies it seeks to guard. Limiting charges would decrease order quantity to native eating places, who would face increased prices in the event that they operated their very own, in-house supply service, they are saying.

“Any cap on fees, regardless of duration, will result in damaging, unintended consequences for locally-owned businesses as we’ve already seen in other markets and unintended consequences for delivery workers, diners, and a local economy,” Amy Healy, senior director of public affairs at Grubhub, advised the Boston City Council final week because it weighed mandating a cap. “In fact, it will result in the exact opposite of what the legislation is trying to accomplish, and we believe that any cap on fees represents an overstep by local officials and will not withstand a legal challenge.”

Last month, an emergency order in San Franciso capped charges at 15 %, whereas the New York City Council moved to do the identical earlier this month.

In Cambridge in the meantime, officers have capped commissions at 10 %. Though Boston councilors have mentioned the difficulty, any potential plans to impose a restrict are nonetheless within the works.

City councilors in Somerville have additionally backed the idea of a cap, though particular person municipalities do not need authority in relation to placing one in place, in response to Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen.

“The issue is that here in Massachusetts, individual cities, we do not have the legal authority to get in between two parties and a contract, such as a restaurant and a delivery app,” Ewen-Campen mentioned throughout a May 14 assembly. “So unfortunately we’re not in a position to just set a cap. But I believe that this is still something that we can do, which is to not only lend our support to statewide legislation … but the second thing, I think this is an issue we can play a role just spreading the word.”

🍴NEW🥄A rising checklist of native elected officers in MA has signed onto our open letter urging the State Legislature to help native eating places by capping the charges charged by third-party supply apps. Pleased to work w/ @PattyNolan1, @MattOMalley & others on this concern. (1/) pic.twitter.com/3I7AtEGK63

— Ben Ewen-Campen (@BenForWard3) May 22, 2020

In their letter to state lawmakers, Ewen-Campen and different officers urged the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Karen Spilka, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo to set a cap, pointing to a pending invoice filed by state Rep. Michael Day, a Stoneham Democrat.

If handed, the invoice would restrict charges to 10 % of the full value of an order. The measure would stay in impact till 45 days after the commonwealth’s state of emergency for the coronavirus pandemic is lifted. Violators could be fined as much as $100 and could be required to reimburse the restaurant for the charges it wrongly collected.

As of Friday, the proposal had over 50 co-sponsors.

“We are grateful for the many critical actions that the Governor and Legislature have taken throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we respectfully encourage you to prioritize action to support local restaurants by capping third party delivery fees,” the letter says. “We believe that it is necessary to do so as quickly as possible, as many beloved local restaurants which are the heart and soul of neighborhoods and which employ a large number of vulnerable workers face an uncertain future.”

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