NYS Restaurant Association Provides Testimony Opposing Street Vendor License Expansion
This morning the NYS Restaurant Association’s Government Affairs team attended a press conference and testified at a hearing in front of the New York City Council to express our concern over legislation that would expand the number of street vendor licenses. These vendors already have major advantages over their brick and mortar counterparts and allowing further expansion without conducting the needed research could do irreparable harm to a restaurant industry that is already suffering under many undue burdens.
The legislation is not all bad. Parts of the package that will be discussed today would create
an advisory board that includes brick and mortar representatives, and it would establish an enforcement office to focus on enforcing regulations for street vendors.
However, by acknowledging the need for an enforcement office, this proposal seemingly confirms a problem we all know exists - the current lack of enforcement and frequent non-compliance of street vendors. Our message throughout this process has been that these problems need to be addressed before we expand the number of licenses as that would just further complicate the issues.
Suffolk County Passes Plastic Straw & Polystyrene Ban
Earlier this week, the Suffolk County Legislature
passed two measures
aimed at helping the environment. The first bill would mandate that straws and stirrers could only be provided by-request-only in sit-down restaurants and would have to be biodegradable — not plastic — in food establishments and self-service beverage stations starting Jan. 1. There is a provision in the bill that would allow consumers with disabilities or medical conditions to be given a plastic straw if they require one.
The second bill would ban restaurants from using polystyrene foam (styrofoam) takeout containers and polystyrene packaging "peanuts" starting next year.
Legislation of this type is becoming more and more common around the State and we should expect to see further bills in other counties before the end of the year. As always, the NYSRA Government Affairs team will keep you updated as the compliance guidelines for these two laws become available.