Seven new pieces of legislation that aim to provide COVID-19 relief were signed into New York City law on Tuesday.
The new laws support struggling small businesses by imposing limits on third-party food delivery services, extending the suspension of sidewalk cafe fee collection, and protecting commercial tenants from harassment and personal liability. Together, all seven bills offer protections for New Yorkers during this time of financial insecurity.
“New Yorkers have been fighting every day to flatten the curve and get through this pandemic together. Now, it’s time for us to give back to them,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I’m proud to sign this package of bills into law to offer protections for our small businesses, restaurants, and tenants to ensure that our City can come back stronger.”
The package of bills include Intro. 1898-A and 1908-B, which prohibits third-party food delivery services from charging restaurants charging restaurants a fee for telephone orders that do not result in an actual sale and capping fees third-party food service fees greater than 15% per order for delivery and 5% per order for any other charge. These two bills will go into effect on June 3.
Intro. 1916-A suspends collection of indoor sidewalk cafe fees from restaurants March 1, 2020 through Feb. 28, 2021, and for outdoor sidewalk cafes throughout the pandemic. Intros. 1914-A and 1932-A designate threatening a commercial tenant as a form of harassment, and protects commercial tenants’ personal assets by temporarily prohibiting the enforcement of personal liability provisions in commercial leases or rental agreements involving COVID-19 impacted tenants.
Intro. 1936-A protects tenants from harassment by protecting them from threats based on status as an essential employee or being impacted by COVID-19. Finally, Intro. 1940-A suspends renewal requirements for licenses and permits from city agencies.
Penalties for not following the bills can result in fines and litigation.
“New York’s small businesses have been devastated by this pandemic. On top of closed businesses, they faced high fees, harassment from landlords and even the possibility of losing their homes. I’m proud of our Council for taking action quickly to protect them and thank the mayor for signing these bills that will allow our small business community to breathe a little easier. We will keep working to help our small businesses, which are the lifeblood of our neighborhoods,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.