The NY city council has today voted in favor of a bill that would give restaurants in the city the option to add a surcharge of up to 10 percent of the diner’s bill as an economic recovery aid measure during the epidemic. The provision will come into force immediately after the mayor, who is in support of the bill, signs it into law. This will extend to 90 days after indoor food is allowed at full capacity.
“This bill will give the restaurant the freedom it needs to increase revenues to cover rapidly rising labor and compliance costs and to keep them in business,” it said in a statement.
Additional revenue from surcharges can be placed toward any part of the business that the restaurant owner chooses, although customers must clarify that fees are not interchangeable with tips and the money does not go toward employees’ salaries.
New York Hospitality Alliance executive director Andrew Riggi said in a statement praising the City Council on the vote, that the bill would give NYC restaurants “the chance for an existential battle.”
Not everyone is happy with the decision of the city council. Saryu Jayaraman, president of One Fair Ways, a national organization that advocates for the abolition of the tipped minimum wage, said in a statement that during surcharge dinner “cuts to previously reduced customer tips during an epidemic” Huh”. Less tip when they see the COVID-19 surcharge automatically added to the bill.
Jayaraman said, “While it is important that we support the New York City restaurant industry during this unprecedented crisis, we should not forget about the individual restaurant workers who have spent the last six months living with serious disproportionate losses in their lives. Has seen adverse effects. ” One Fair Wedge called on the city council to reject the law unless the surcharge could only be used by restaurants that do not use tip credits and already pay minimum wages of $ 15 per hour to each worker Pay.
The COVID-19 recovery surcharge is an evolution of a bill originally introduced by Borelli two years ago. In the original bill, Borelli called on the city to allow restaurants to add surcharges of up to 5 percent to customers’ bills to offset rising rents and other operating costs.
At the time, more than 200 restaurants signed a letter in support of adding a surcharge. Eater critic Ryan Sutton argued against a version of the measure originally introduced in 2018, stating that the provision would allow restaurants to keep menu prices artificially low, and a surprise bill at the end of dinner night Will end with
Mayor Bill de Blasio was also against the original bill, but supported the surcharge in the light of the current economic crisis. The mayor’s spokesman says, “The mayor supports the bill and he would be proud to sign it.” “This is an unprecedented emergency, and we will do everything we can to support an industry that employs thousands of New Yorkers and makes us the largest city in the world.” The date and time of when the law will be signed has not yet been determined.
Surcharges have already been granted elsewhere in the state and other US cities including San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In NYC, the bill ultimately did not go ahead yet, as a recovered COVID-19 recovery measure. The city council has quickly pushed through several emergency assistance measures for small businesses during the epidemic, including a 20 percent cap on food fees that restaurants charge meal delivery services, and waives pavement café fees for a year is.
A spokesperson for Borelli confirmed that his office would continue to push for permanent surcharge allowances in the city after the current emergency deadline expired.