Most NYC Restaurants and Bars Couldn’t Pay Their July Rent

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More than 80 percent of restaurants and bars in New York City couldn’t pay their full rent in July, according to a new survey released by the New York City Hospitality Alliance

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The hospitality industry trade group asked nearly 500 restaurant, bar and nightlife business owners in the five boroughs whether they were able to pay rent on their retail spaces last month. July was the first full month of outdoor dining and drinking in New York City after a three-month economic shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, and most food and beverage purveyors have not bounced back to their pre-pandemic levels of revenue.

Eighty-three percent of businesses reported not paying their entire rent, with 37 percent saying they paid none at all in July. Just 17 percent of restaurant and bar owners reported paying all of their rent. 

And apparently commercial landlords are not feeling very forgiving these days. Roughly 71 percent of hospitality business owners said their landlords had not waived any part of their rent during the COVID-19 crisis, and 61 percent reported that their landlords had not deferred any rent either. 

Only 10 percent of business owners have been able to renegotiate their leases, and another 27 percent said they were in “good faith” lease negotiations with their landlords.

“While complying with the necessary pause, our industry has been uniquely and financially devastated,” Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, said in a statement. “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.”