Hoboken Council President Jen Giattino and 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco are proposing two measure to help the city’s ailing hospitality industry: one to expand sidewalk cafes and another to cap the profit sharing of third party delivery companies like GrubHub.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“The hospitality industry has been devastatingly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and as elected leaders, it is our job to help the mom and pop shops in our community recover and succeed. Though our current social distancing guidelines prohibit dining at restaurants, the time will soon come where our eateries, bars and cafes will once again be allowed to serve food and beverages, but likely with limited capacities,” Giattino and DeFusco said in a statement.
“This is our opportunity to identify creative and innovative ways to help these businesses keep their doors open in Hoboken. Scaling back the profit percentage of large third party delivery companies allows our local small businesses to generate additional revenue to keep their staff employed and pay their bills.”
Hoboken bars and restaurants have only been able to serve takeout meals since March 15th, like most eateries in the rest of the country, though the Mile Square City was one of the first to implement these guidelines in hopes of stopping the spread of COVID-19.
As part of the amendments that would be made to the existing sidewalk cafe regulations, qualified businesses would be permitted to build a temporary platform in the parking spots immediately in front of their establishment to use as an outdoor dining area.
They would also allow for businesses located across the street from municipal parks to extend seating to the sidewalk immediately in front of the park, with a pathway designated for pedestrians.
Furthermore, no establishment would be allowed to operate a sidewalk cafe without obtaining a license from the city’s zoning officer.
A second ordinance will cap the commission collected by third party delivery companies, such as GrubHub and UberEats, at 10 percent during a declared State of Emergency.
Currently, companies are able to charge small businesses anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of each order value. The legislation also prohibits the corporation from reducing the compensation of its delivery drivers.
The Hoboken City Council is scheduled to meet via Zoom on Wednesday at 7 p.m.