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Restaurants Will Soon Be Able to Add 10 Percent ‘COVID-Recovery Charge’ to Customer Checks

Cloris Ying (Unsplash)

Sept. 16, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

Restaurants will soon be able to add a 10 percent service charge to the tab.

The City Council voted Wednesday to approve legislation that would temporarily permit restaurants to add a “COVID-19 Recovery Charge” to customer checks.

The legislation is expected to be signed by the mayor – which would then go into effect immediately — and last until 90 days after full indoor dining is restored.

Restaurants have been decimated by strict COVID-19 lockdown measures and indoor dining – which has been barred since March – is only set to resume at 25 percent capacity on Sept. 30.

The restrictions have already forced many eateries to permanently shutter due to a loss in business and plummeting revenue.

The legislation was passed on a 46-to-2 vote and overrides a previous law that prohibits restaurants from charging any fees beyond the price of food, drink and taxes.

Restaurants that choose to implement the charge would have to notify the customer by placing it at the bottom of each menu as well as stating it on the customer tab.

Staten Island Council Member Joe Borelli, who introduced the legislation, said the charge will help restaurants cover rising labor costs and COVID-19 compliance costs.

“This bill fundamentally is about saving the restaurant industry,” Borelli told the New York Post after yesterday’s vote.

“We’re trying to give restaurants the option of adding a surcharge to let their customers know they need to raise a little bit more money to make their ends meet,” Borelli said.

He added that restaurants are continuing to close down because they are losing money while operating under coronavirus restrictions.

The NYC Hospitality Alliance is backing the legislation saying that many restaurant owners told them a surcharge would help them generate revenue to purchase PPE, cover outdoor dining expenses and keep workers employed.

Queens Council Member Adrienne Adams was one of only two representatives who voted down the legislation arguing that low-wage restaurant workers may get smaller tips because of the surcharge.

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Maybe socialists will suggest making other stores who has much more revenue (grocery stores are very busy, people cook at home etc) so they can share some of their income towards rescuing restaurants, let’s see if they can pull that. EVERY business has risks, Government can easily bail out restaurants, but I guess they can think about all the cash business they’ve been doing….


What a shame we will stop eating out and just cook at home. We were just starting to enjoy the restaurants again.

Queens Streets for LOL

Where was the popular vote on this? Tyranny, I, I mean WE, say. Restaurants should have to pay for using metered spots. LOL

Why aren't game show hosts good at pandemics?

Sad what people have to do to cope with the worst unemployment in our nation’s history


Sorry my budget wont allow to splurge at restaurants now with this tax. I will be eating more at home from now on.

rgb sunnyside

another dagger in the heart of the restaurant business. how about letting diners decide what they want to leave when they tip?


I have a better idea: increase the percentage of diners to fifty percent. When it gets cold, nobody is going to sit outside. I would not let this mayor run an ice cream stand. He has not idea how businesses operate.

Cynthia of Woodside

Hey wake up : we all know mayor is incompetent nothing new but many of us struggling to pay basic needs at the moment not able to splurged on dinning
Its a hardship but I can make my meals at home
Im ok with that


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