‘Financially Devastated’: 87% Of NYC Bars, Restaurants Couldn’t Make August Rent

(Photo by BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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A survey found that 87% of New York City restaurants, bars, and nightlife venues couldn’t pay their full rent in August as the city grapples with permanent business closures and unemployment.

The survey by the NYC Hospitality Alliance also showed that 34% of these establishments couldn’t pay rent at all, Patch reported

The results, which were released Monday, come ahead of the scheduled reopening of indoor dining at 25% capacity starting Sept. 30. If positive rates for coronavirus don’t show significant increase, the capacity will be raised to 50% by Nov. 1, according to Eater.

People drink outdoor at bars and restaurants in the Hells Kitchen neighborhood of New York on June 7, 2020. (Photo by BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images)

But many restaurants are struggling to remain afloat in the meantime, and outdoor dining seemingly failed to help many businesses survive the warmer months of the pandemic.

“Restaurants, bars and nightlife venues have been financially devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Andrew Rigie, the group’s executive director, said in a statement according to the NY Post.

“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.”

Of the 457 establishments across the city that were surveyed, 90% reported not being able to renegotiate their leases with their landlord while 40% said that they were able to get their rent waived. Some — 28.5% — had less than 50% of their rental obligations waived in August, and the same percentage of respondents said they had more than 50% of their rent waived.

Manhattan real-estate sales experienced the largest decline in 30 years in July amid apprehension about coronavirus shifting buyer preferences. The rental market, however, was what brokers said will face the most immediate pressure since renters can leave the city easily. (RELATED: Manhattan Sees Largest Decline In Housing Sales In 30 Years, Apartment Contracts Down 76%)

“The hospitality industry is essential to New York’s economic and social fabric, and to ensure the survival of these vital small businesses and jobs, we urgently need rent relief, an indefinite extension of outdoor dining, a roadmap for expanded indoor dining, covered business interruption insurance and immediate passage of the Restaurants Act by Congress,” Rigie added.