This week, Kent Mayor Dana Ralph proposed an emergency ordinance to cap the rates that food delivery services like Uber Eats, Door Dash and Grub Hub can charge local restaurants.

By enacting this ordinance, it would lower the cost to small businesses and residents during a time where food delivery is essential because of the pandemic.

“We are in the middle of a pandemic and the Governor has set restrictions on which businesses can be open and what their capacity can be. The least we can do is ensure we make it easier for our small businesses to survive and lower the cost of delivering essential services, like food, for our residents,” said Kent Mayor Dana Ralph.

Capping the commission fee to a maximum of 15% of the purchase price on delivery or pick-up orders while restaurants are unable to provide unrestricted dine-in service will accomplish the fundamental government purpose of ensuring the public’s accessibility to food and easing the financial burden on struggling restaurants during this public health emergency while not unduly burdening third-party, app-based food delivery platforms

The City Council passed the Mayor’s proposed ordinance unanimously.

It is in the public interest to act, to better position Kent’s restaurant industry to enable restaurants to survive the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar action has been taken in many cities around the country, but Kent is one of the first in Washington. The recent prohibition of in-person dine-in services at restaurants makes the passage of this ordinance an urgent matter, and the Kent City Council declares this ordinance necessary to address a public emergency in order to protect the economic viability of the restaurant industry in Kent, restaurant employment, and the provision of food resources to the community.

The Council intends this ordinance remain in effect until such time as the governor allows restaurants to operate at a capacity of seventy-five percent or more, or until the state of Washington, either through legislative action or an emergency proclamation of the governor, establishes a maximum chargeable rate for third-party, app-based food delivery platforms applicable to all cities within King County Washington. To be effective, this ordinance must take effect in short order.

The ordinance will be effective and enforceable starting at 12 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020.

Scott Schaefer

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