New York City restaurants have been given the okay to star adding upto 10 percent to a customer’s bill as a COVID-19 Recovery Charge.
The City Council today (Wednesday) passed temporary legislation that will allow restaurants and other food service establishments to add the charge until 90 days after full indoor dining restarts in the city.
“This bill will give restaurants the freedom they need to increase revenue to help cover rapidly rising labor and compliance costs and keep them in business,” said Council Member Joe Borelli, who sponsored the legislation.
“Restaurants in New York City have been getting crushed by massively increasing costs over the last five years and their options for increasing revenue have been narrowing. This new policy is coming as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on our city, but I have every intention of making this change permanent.”
Restaurateurs can start applying the charge immediately, but must make sure it is posted on their menus and identified on diners checks
The NYC Hospitality Alliance has hailed the new rule to help restaurants it says have been “financially devastated,” by the pandemic.
“The passage of the Covid-19 recovery bill will help struggling restaurants generate additional revenue to help pay for expenses like PPE for their employees, outdoor dining setups, rent, labor and other expenses to give them a fighting chance of survival,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.
“We commend the City Council for passing this important temporary legislation and urge Mayor de Blasio to sign it into law immediately.”
The legislation comes following weeks of acrimony between the government and city restaurant owners, some 300 of whom filed a $2 billion class action suit against the state for violating their constitutional rights with a blanket ban on indoor dining during the COVID pandemic.
NY State Restaurant Associaition has warned that without a comprehensive relief package specifically for restaurants, more than two thirds are likely to close by the end of the year.
Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York City restaurants will be allowed to re-open 25 percent of their indoor space for dining on September 30.
The Governor said that if COVID infections continue to fall, that could increase to 50 percent capacity November 1.