Mayor, Council President and Councilman Costello join together to support Baltimore restaurants
Wednesday Dec 16th, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
As restaurants rely on takeout dining to sustain their businesses through the surging pandemic, Councilman Eric Costello joins Mayor Brandon M. Scott and Council President Nick. J. Mosby in providing legislative relief to bolster Baltimore employers’ bottom line by capping the fee third-party delivery services can charge.
Costello is the lead sponsor on a bill backed by the Council President and the Mayor to temporarily cut in half the fees that third-party delivery services can charge on restaurant takeout orders during the pandemic. The legislation will be introduced at the next Council meeting on Jan. 11.
Delivery services typically charge restaurants about 30% to bring takeout food orders to customers. The legislation would cap the fee for delivery services, marketing and administration at no more than 15% of the order cost.
“This cap on fees puts our restaurant community in a better position to be successful at a time when these small business owners really need our support,” Councilman Costello said. “I am very grateful to Mayor Scott for backing this legislation and to Council President Mosby for his collaboration on finding a legislative solution for our small business community, specifically restaurants and their employees as well as gig workers in Baltimore.”
Council President Mosby said capping the fees is a legislative solution that will put money back in the pockets of local business owners. The Council President worked with Councilman Costello to add a provision in the bill to protect gig workers by stopping the delivery service companies from pushing a loss in profits onto them. The companies are prohibited from reducing their wages or compensation as a result of the legislation.
“The cap on third-party delivery services puts money directly back in the pockets of Baltimore business owners who provide the jobs that are the lifeblood of this city,” Council President Mosby said. “These are the sort of legislative solutions the Council will strive to achieve to make a difference in the lives of Baltimore families.”
Mayor Scott thanked the Council and urged the community to support local businesses.
“My decision to suspend in-person dining was not made lightly, but was necessary to keep our community safe in a worsening pandemic. I have always said that we must find new ways to offer concrete support to our business community in these unprecedented times. I thank the City Council for answering that call and taking swift action to introduce these needed reforms for the benefit of our local businesses, workers and community,” said Mayor Scott. “Baltimore, now is the time to wrap our arms around our restaurants and show our support by ordering carry-out and delivery.”
The bill will be considered at the Council’s next meeting and could be in effect as early as February. The legislation limits to 10% the fee companies can charge on delivery services and caps administrative fees at another 5%.
Delivery companies also are barred from passing higher fees on to customers.
The cap on fees would expire 90 days after the governor lifts the state of emergency.