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Ordering delivery has become a lifeline for restaurants and customers alike. Restaurants get to stay open during the public health emergency, and customers get to enjoy their favorite dish during unprecedented times.

But there’s a dark side: commission. 

Restaurants have to pay as much as 35 percent in fees to third-party delivery services like Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash, and Postmates. In normal times, restaurants only snag a couple bucks in profit when using these services. In these times, a couple bucks more could make all the difference. 

The hospitality industry is one of the hardest hit sectors. Restaurants are struggling to even do grab-and-go, turning into makeshift grocers to earn more cash. DC Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey DeWitt projects that 20 percent of the 40 percent of restaurants that are currently struggling will permanently close. 

It would seem that the D.C. Council has heard the complaints of restaurateurs who are demanding that commission fees be temporarily removed or reduced, City Paper’s Laura Hayes reports. Other cities like San Francisco and Seattle have a cap, so why not D.C.?    

“I’m looking to put this in that bill unless there’s something I’m unaware of, like a legal issue,” says Council Chairman Phil Mendelson

The question becomes: What’s the cap? SF and Seattle’s caps are 15 percent while New York’s City Council is debating a 10 percent cap.

If you can, order pick-up. —Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)

CITY DESK LINKS, byAmanda Michelle Gomez:

  • At Wednesday’s press conference, Mayor Muriel Bowser was joined by Attorney General Karl Racine for the first time during the public health emergency. Racine said that his office has received complaints from residents on a variety of fronts. OAG, for example, has seen two dozen instances where landlords illegally tried to evict or increase rent under the pandemic; all but two have been resolved. Bowser also announced a new rental assistance program that is expected to help 400 households with payments, retroactive to pay April and May rent. Applications will open May 11, but it’s unclear whether undocumented immigrants can apply. [Twitter]

  • D.C. reported 15 more deaths, bringing the total number of lives lost, tragically, to COVID-19 to 205. Some of those individuals are among the city’s most vulnerable, including nine who were homeless, nine who were patients at St. Elizabeths Hospital, and one who was in custody at DC Jail. As of April 28, 4,106 people have tested positive for COVID-19, while 19,229 have been tested overall. (FYI: DC Health wants to see a positivity rate of 10 percent.) [EOM

  • How D.C.’s positive test rate compares nationwide. [Axios]

  • The death toll in Maryland, and six other states, is higher than reported. [NYT]

  • Edna Adams lived to survive the 1918 flu pandemic and two world wars, and died at 105 of COVID-19. She is D.C.’s oldest coronavirus victim. [Post]  

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Don’t forget to tell us what you care about this election cycle. [WCP]

  • There’s a virtual town hall on D.C.’s reopening strategy tonight. [Twitter]

  • D.C.’s halfway house, Hope Village, is closing. [Post, NBC]

  • Bowser expanded testing, but the hotline to make an appointment wasn’t updated. [Hill Rag]

  • The House of Representatives will not reconvene in D.C. next week because positive coronavirus cases are still rising here. [Politico]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Bar owners mull over what their industry will look like once they can reopen. [WCP]

  • Fado is closing in Chinatown after 22 years. [PoPville]

  • Eden Center isn’t faring well during COVID-19. [WAMU]

  • GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar sues its insurer for failing to pay business interruption insurance. [WAMU]

  • A new bill would allow SNAP recipients to use their benefits at restaurants. [Post]

  • Guilt over plastic, bags, and straws is waning during the pandemic. [Eater]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • This year’s Awesome Con is happening online. [DCist]

  • Quotidian Theatre Company is saying goodbye, and will likely stage its last production in spring 2021. [DC Metro Theater Arts]

  • Sting has joined the lineup for the National Air and Space Museum’s virtual Space Songs concert this Thursday. [Washingtonian]

SPORTS LINKS, byKelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The Washington football team has signed four undrafted free agents, including tight end Thaddeus Moss, the son of Hall of Famer Randy Moss. [NBC Sports Washington]

  • What one local runner learned from running the same route at the same time for a week. [RunWashington]

  • Credit Nicola Minarikova, Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny’s girlfriend, for coming up with the idea behind the NHL’s Stick Together campaign. As part of the campaign, the Capitals will auction signed sticks and other memorabilia to benefit Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s Feeding the Frontlines fund. [Russian Machine Never Breaks]

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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