NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is some relief coming for New York City restaurants struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

City Council members voted Wednesday to approve a surcharge bill that many owners have been proposing for years, CBS2’s Cory James reported.

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The initiative is happening following a recent national survey by Yelp determined 60% of restaurants that closed because of COVID-19 closed for good. That is something city officials are hoping to prevent happening more.


If you are thinking about doing indoor dining in the Big Apple, start thinking about possibly spending more money. The City Council passed legislation Wednesday allowing owners to add an up to a 10% surcharge to your tab.

“I think that’s a little unfair,” Hell’s Kitchen diner Zachary Keighron said.

“I’m willing to pay. If people can’t afford it, don’t like it, then they can take a day off from eating each night,” diner Jen Dickhaut said.

The “COVID-19 recovery charge” applies to independently owned businesses and is only an option for 90 days. It’s a decision Rebeca Mosqueda, the assistant manager of Tacuba in Hell’s Kitchen, said will help with overhead costs caused by the pandemic.

“Definitely will help us, because we have to buy extra stuff. We have to buy the sanitizer and other things that is extra for the restaurant,” Mosqueda said.

But Sean Hayden, the owner of Alfie’s next door, said he most likely will not add the surcharge.

“It’s unlikely because everybody is suffering now economically. It’s not fair to push it down on the customer,” the owner said.

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His main concern is the midnight curfew mandate for inside service that is currently capped off at 25% capacity.

“I don’t agree with it. People are going somewhere anyway. They’re not necessarily going home at 12 o’clock,” he said.

And that is something Andrew Rigie with the NYC Hospitality Alliance said he is working to change, while also fighting to keep out outdoor dining in the winter for businesses.

“They are exhausting their personal savings. They are struggling. So they would love to see the outdoor dining expanded past the end of October. They’d love to be able to use heat lamps,” Rigie said.

Until a decision for that is made, some restaurants are celebrating the surcharge win. But one server said she is hoping it will not turn into a tip loss for them.

“We’re already all taking a little bit of a hit, so to take even more of a decrease in our take-home pay, we’d feel it,” Caitlin Lester-Sims said.

All menus have to fully disclose the surcharge.

Mayor Bill de Blasio still has to sign the bill.

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