A new bill from the New York City Council could help restaurants – but at a cost to eateries.
On Wednesday, the council approved a law allowing restaurants to add a “COVID-19 Recovery Charge” to a customer’s bill, as long as the charge is “clearly revealed” in the menu and bill.
By law, the fee can only be up to 1
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Restaurants in New York City have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, beginning with the state shutdown and restrictions on personal eating.
Even now, restaurants in the city are only allowed to serve food outdoors. From 30 September, restaurants are allowed to offer indoor dining, but only with a capacity of 25%.
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There is concern that 25% capacity for indoor dining will be enough to actually help struggling restaurants stay financially afloat.
“I know we’re fine, but 25% for many smaller restaurants will not cut the bill, not when you have the looming commercial New York properties to pay,” Tren’ness Woods-Black told Sylvia’s vice president of communications , FOX Business Maria Bartiromo Monday.
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The new law, sponsored by State Citizens Councilman Joe Borelli, hopes to give restaurants a little more help.
Previously, restaurants were not allowed to add an additional fee to compensate for coronavirus loss, “although such a supplement is clearly stated,” the NYC Council website said.
Restaurants now have the option to include the 10% tax, which takes effect immediately.
“The city’s restaurant and hospitality industry has been hit particularly hard during the pandemic, where many are unlikely to survive on outdoor dining or take-away,” a council statement said. “Even when indoor dining resumes, restaurants are still operating under capacity and need the ability to charge a reasonable dining fee to stay afloat.”
According to NBC New York, the bill only allows small restaurants to add the charge to their customers’ bills – it does not include “pushcarts, racks, vehicles or large chains.”
It is not required that restaurants that are eligible include the fee, the city council release said.
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The tax on COVID-19 only lasts “until 90 days after full indoor dining is allowed again,” the bill says.
After this period, restaurants will no longer be allowed to charge patrons the extra 10%.
“This bill will give restaurants the freedom they need to increase revenue to help cover rapidly rising labor and compliance costs and keep them running,” Borelli said in a statement.
“Restaurants in New York City have been crushed by massively rising costs over the past five years, and their opportunities to increase revenue have narrowed,” Borelli added. “This new policy comes as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on our city, but I intend to make this change permanent.”
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