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Nine out of 10 NYC restaurants and bars couldn't pay rent in August

The staggering number comes from a new survey released by NYC Hospitality Alliance.

Will Gleason
Written by
Will Gleason

A major new report released by the New York City Hospitality Alliance this week contained a truly startling figure: A staggering 9 out of every 10 restaurants and bars in the city were unable to pay their full rent in August. 

That number was reached based on a survey conducted by the NYC Hospitality Alliance which surveyed the city’s restaurants, bars and nightlife venues to gain more data on the economic impact of Covid-19 on the industry. Even more worryingly, the figure was the highest it had been all summer, increasing from 83 percent in July and 80 percent in June. (The survey was based on responses from 450 of the Hospitality Alliance’s 2,500 members.)

Alongside the industry’s inability to make rent, responses also suggested an inflexibility on the part of landlords to work with the venues. The survey found that 90 percent of respondents were unable to negotiate their leases.

“Restaurants, bars and nightlife venues have been financially devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance in a statement. “Even before the pandemic when operating at 100 percent occupancy, these small businesses were struggling to stay open. Now we’re seeing widespread closures, approximately 150,000 industry workers are still out of their jobs, and the overwhelming majority of these remaining small businesses cannot afford to pay rent.”

It remains to be seen whether or not next week’s resumption of indoor dining at 25 percent capacity will be enough to help the city’s many independently owned restaurants stay afloat. In the meantime, if you’re looking to help, you can contact your council member to ask for an extension of outdoor dining in the city (currently set to expire on October 31) and contact your congressman to ask them to support the passage of the Restaurants Act.

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