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City takes emergency action to protect struggling local restaurants from onerous delivery commission fees

July 21, 2020

In an effort to help struggling Gresham restaurants survive the COVID-19 health pandemic and economic crisis, the City updated its Emergency Declaration July 21, capping the commissions charged by third-party app-based food delivery platforms at 15%.

Gresham’s action is similar to the structure recently adopted in neighboring Portland. The City’s action also protects the delivery drivers working for these platforms, often local residents, by prohibiting the platforms from reducing the compensation paid to drivers or garnishing their gratuities. 

“The economic crisis has hit our local restaurants particularly hard, as they have struggled to survive the months-long closure of their dining rooms, followed by limited seating required under Phase I reopening,” said Gresham Mayor Karylinn Echols. 

“We are thankful that app-based platforms exist to deliver food to residents who are, by choice or necessity, staying home. At the same time, we can’t allow the pandemic to embolden these platforms to charge commissions on restaurants that, in many cases, are so large the restaurants are nearly unable to cover their already thin margins.”

“We are equally mindful of the fees charged to customers and encourage all users of these platforms to watch add-on fees carefully.”  

Cities across the country have taken actions to limit commissions and protect drivers, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Jersey City, and Portland. Gresham’s approach improves regional consistency, mirroring the provisions and protections in Portland’s recent action.

“The Gresham Area Chamber is pleased the City has recognized a new opportunity to help struggling restaurant businesses,” said Lynn Snodgrass, CEO, Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.

“Even before COVID-19, restaurants had razor thin margins. With the additional burdens and obstacles placed on them from state regulations and pandemic guidelines, this move to cap commissions will provide some welcome relief without limiting revenues of those that provide the service,” Snodgrass said.

The City of Gresham has taken a number of decisive actions to stem the economic damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the food delivery commission cap, Gresham issued nearly 300 emergency economic grants to local businesses and independent contractors within days of the stay-at-home restrictions, and swiftly enacted emergency commercial and residential tenant protections. 

Additionally, the City imposed a moratorium on disconnects from its own public utilities and repurposed its professional staff to provide technical assistance for local businesses struggling to navigate the paperwork and bureaucracy necessary to access federal emergency assistance funds.

The City’s updated Emergency Declaration and additional information about this program, and all of the City’s COVID-19 relief efforts, is available at GreshamOregon.gov/COVID19 as well as the City’s social media channels.