Restaurants, food delivery services still operating during curfews
3rd June 2020
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Restaurant owners and delivery workers are struggling with curfew orders issued in cities across the country.

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With protests happening nationwide against police brutality in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, city officials have put curfews in place to take caution against looting and violence. And while some third-party services like DoorDash and UberEats have suspended deliveries to comply with local guidelines, in some cities like New York, food workers are deemed essential and can continue delivering. In those cases, owners are grappling with taking safety measures to protect workers.

Food delivery workers are deemed essential in cities like New York. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday a citywide curfew at 8 p.m. through Sunday, June 7. The order doesn’t apply to restaurant and delivery workers who are considered “essential retail,” the New York City Hospitality Alliance noted.

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“The restaurateurs I’ve spoken with stand for justice, but need to make difficult decisions about the safety of their employees and businesses,” Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, told FOX Business, adding: “They need to look at multiple factors and make a decision about remaining open or closing that works for their specific situation.”

Sammy Musovic, owner of new American restaurant Sojourn on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, has been closing down his restaurant at 8 p.m. daily to keep his workers safe.

“A lot of my workers are afraid to be out after curfew,” Musovic said of deciding to close down his restaurant during dinner-time hours.

Third-party delivery services such as DoorDash, and UberEats have said they would stop food delivery services in cities with curfews. A spokesperson for DoorDash told FOX Business it is tailoring operations based on guidance from local governments and is "reducing hours to abide by local curfews."

UBER, DOORDASH SUSPEND SERVICE IN CITIES WITH CURFEWS 

Food trucks have stopped doing in-person transactions after curfew hours in New York, however, most trucks that are able to deliver have continued to do so past curfew hours, said Ben Goldberg, founder and president of the New York Food Truck Association.

“Residents of New York City still need to be able to get a meal, especially if they can't for some reason physically go to a grocery store or have someone shop for them,” Goldberg said, recommending that delivery staff wear their company uniform and have a state or federal ID with them if they are stopped by law enforcement.

HAZARD PAY CUTS: ESSENTIAL FRONTLINE WORKERS SPEAK OUT 

With hospitality workers already facing financial hardship from restaurant closures and layoffs due to the coronavirus, many employees can’t afford to lose out on pay during prime dinner-time ordering.

“These essential workers, for the most part, can't take off because New Yorkers depend on them and also in this tough economy, they can't afford to lose their jobs,” Goldberg said adding: “The confluence of all these concurrent risks has really put a strain on essential workers, but they know they are counted on and will rise to the challenge.”

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