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Philly Extends Its Indoor Dining Ban to September 1

Plus, the city caps fees from third-party delivery apps

empty restaurant with chairs stacked on tables Shutterstock

In the wake of rising coronavirus cases, Philadelphia officials just decided to prohibit indoor dining for an extra month.

Restaurants were originally scheduled to revive indoor seating starting Wednesday, August 1. The rest of Pennsylvania has been allowed to seat diners inside, at limited 25-percent capacities, for a few weeks now.

The delay comes as Philadelphia recorded 142 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, July 28, bringing the total number of cases to just under 30,000, reports NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate. The alarming new numbers prompted Health Commissioner Thomas Farley to hint at a “second wave” of the epidemic across the region, hence the call to stall inside seating until Saturday, September 1. Outdoor dining still remains an option for Philly diners.

Restaurants banking on incoming inside business did get some good delivery-related news this week, with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney approving a 15-percent cap on third-party delivery fees.

The bill, signed into law on Monday, July 27, limits delivery fees to 10 percent of the purchase price of online orders. Any additional tacked-on charges will be capped at 5 percent. The legislation, designed to help an industry struggling to make ends meet during an ongoing pandemic, was passed unanimously by the city council on Thursday, June 25.

Caps will remain in effect through the duration of the public health emergency, and any violation of the temporary law will come with a $300 fine.

Big-name apps like Grubhub and DoorDash previously had the right to charge restaurants fees as high as 30 percent, gouging an industry that already deals with tight margins.

From coast to coast, cities like New York, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle have already enacted similar caps to limit how much tech giants can charge restaurants for their services.

In Philadelphia, third-party delivery services must also now spell out their fees and disclose if they do not have an agreement with a restaurant. Here’s a look at the bill just signed into law: