Ninety-two percent of 400 New York City restaurants surveyed could not afford December rent, according to research from NYC Hospitality Alliance. The number of establishments unable to pay rent has steadily increased since the start of the pandemic. In June, 80 percent of restaurants could not afford to pay rent; in July, 83 percent; August, 87 percent; and October, 88 percent.
In addition, only 40 percent of tenants’ landlords reduced rent in relation to COVID-19, only 36 percent or tenants’ landlords deferred rent, and only 14 percent of businesses have been able to successfully renegotiate leases.
Though NYC restaurants are now able to return to indoor dining at 25 percent, many suggest that opening at 50 percent capacity is necessary to keep treading water and only a “robust and compressive federal stimulus” can save the industry.
“We’re nearly a year into the public health and economic crisis that has decimated New York City’s restaurants, bars, and nightlife venues,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, in a statement. “While the reopening of highly regulated indoor dining is welcome news, we need to safely increase occupancy to 50 percent as soon as possible, and we urgently need robust and comprehensive financial relief from the federal government. We will continue to work with Senator and Majority Leader Schumer to ensure that the $25 billion restaurant industry recovery fund is passed as part of the Biden administration’s emergency relief plan, and advocate for the enactment of the RESTAURANTS Act to save as many local eating and drinking spots and jobs as possible.”