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Only 17% Of New York Restaurants And Bars Paid Full July Rent

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Outdoor dining will be the only seating option available in New York City restaurants for the foreseeable future.

Vast portions of the city’s hospitality businesses did not meet their rent obligations last month, and most landlords are refusing to budge on lease renegotiation.

The NYC Hospitality Alliance surveyed 500 restaurants, bars and nightlife establishments owners and found that 83% couldn't pay full rent in July, and 37% paid no rent at all. Meanwhile, 90% of landlords wouldn't formally renegotiate leases, which many restaurant owners have said they desperately need to keep their businesses afloat.

“Restaurants and nightlife venues are essential to the economic and social fabric of our city, but they are struggling to survive, and absent immediate and sweeping relief, so many will be forced to close permanently,” NYC Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andew Rigie said in a statement.

The survey found 71% of landlords wouldn't agree to waive parts of rent due to the coronavirus crisis, and 61% wouldn't defer rent payments.

“Small businesses urgently need solutions from government leaders at the city, state, and federal level, inclusive of extending the moratorium on evictions, extending the suspension of personal liability guarantees in leases, pausing commercial rent taxes, providing landlords with needed support, and infusing small businesses with enough cash to weather the storm,” Rigie said.

Indoor dining was due to be permitted from July 6, but officials walked back those plans after spikes in coronavirus cases in other parts of the country. Right now, restaurants and bars can only serve people outside, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently declared that customers buying alcoholic beverages must also purchase food.

Many city restaurant and bar owners have said their only hope is for landlords to shift to new agreements like percentage-based rents. Across the country, restaurant industry members have said the absence of a national strategy, and conflicting local policies, is making their path to recovery even more challenging. 

Contact Miriam Hall at miriam.hall@bisnow.com.