A temporary measure enacted by the Saskatchewan government in March is about to become a law.
The province is also bringing in legislation to expand who can provide home delivery of alcohol products.
Saskatchewan capped fees charged by third-party food delivery companies at 18 per cent of the pre-tax order to help restaurants struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It also capped service fees at 10 per cent if a customer used a third-party app to order food, but picked it up at a restaurant.
The emergency measure expires on April 30.
On Wednesday, the Saskatchewan Party government introduced legislation for those caps to remain in place from May 1 until at least Aug. 31.
Jim Bence, the president and CEO of Hospitality Saskatchewan, said he is pleased the cap is being extended.
“We have been working hard with the government on these measures that will greatly assist our industry in the critical weeks and months ahead,” he said in a statement.
Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison said the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted restaurants due to restrictions on in-person dining.
“With difficult times for hospitality businesses, this is one more support our government can extend to restaurants to help them through the pandemic,” Harrison said in a release.
“The sector has been especially challenged by the economic impacts of COVID-19, as restaurants normally relying on dine-in customers have had to pivot to orders for delivery and pickup.”
The cap does not apply to delivery fees for grocery or convenience stores.
It applies to third-party delivery providers serving more than 50 restaurants across Saskatchewan.
It’s welcome news for restaurant owners and operators.
Hudsons Canada’s Pub Saskatoon said the amount of customers viewing and ordering on smartphones has been a bonus for its bottom line.
“I mean when you’re open and you get those sales, it’s fantastic. We’ve seen three to four times more traffic on those apps than we normally would pre-pandemic,” said operating partner Greg Clark.
Both he and Bence noted more customers are tending to call the restaurant or place orders online to bypass the fee after they realized how much it was affecting some restaurants.
Liquor delivery permit eligibility
The government also introduced legislation on Wednesday that would allow delivery companies that use independent contractors to obtain a permit to provide home delivery of alcohol products.
The change allows companies such as SkipTheDishes, Uber Eats and Doordash to obtain a home delivery permit.
Contractors making deliveries must be at least 19 years of age and have a valid server intervention certificate.
Deliveries can only be made to individuals who are at least 19 years of age.
“Takeout and delivery has become a popular option for many since the pandemic began,” Jim Reiter, the minister responsible for Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, said in a release.
“This change provides an additional opportunity for individuals and businesses who may be interested in providing home delivery of alcohol products.”
Businesses are required to ensure any companies they contract to carry out alcohol product deliveries have a valid home delivery permit.
Clark, who also helps operations with Hudsons locations in Alberta, said alcohol delivery isn’t a major factor for them.
He added that it’s a good option for restaurants to be able to be a one-stop-shop, but their restaurants generally only see one or two orders of alcohol with a takeout order daily.
-With files from Kyle Benning