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Nearly 90 Percent of NYC Restaurants Were Unable to Pay Full Rent in August: Survey

Plus, the city’s plastic bag ban will go into effect next month — and more intel

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Re-opening Continues Across Densely Populated New York And New Jersey Areas
The rent crisis for restaurants is worsening
Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images

NYC restaurants’ struggle to pay rent is worsening

Despite the city’s seemingly successful experiment with outdoor dining, the rent crisis for restaurants and bars is worsening. A new survey of more than 450 establishments by the New York City Hospitality Alliance has revealed that 87 percent of businesses were unable to pay full rent in August, of which 34 percent were unable to pay any rent at all.

That’s an increase from June and July where 80 percent and 83 percent of restaurants surveyed, respectively, were unable to pay full rent. With funds from the federal coronavirus relief fund, the Paycheck Protection Program, drying up, the crisis is likely to worsen without more federal aid. The start of indoor dining at 25 percent next week should come as somewhat of a boost to the city’s restaurants and bars, but with no guarantee yet on if outdoor dining will remain through the winter, and if restaurants will be able to offer a greater percentage of indoor dining, the future remains uncertain.

According to the survey, 60 percent of restaurant landlords had not waived any rent, and of the ones who had waived rent, only a third offered more than 50 percent concession on rent. Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently extended the commercial eviction moratorium through October 20, which should be another temporary reprieve for restaurants, but more restaurants are likely to close permanently without any longterm relief efforts, according to the Alliance. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 1,000 NYC restaurants and bars have permanently closed due to the crisis.

In other news

— NYC’s plastic bag ban will finally go into effect on October 19.

— Another 12 Queens restaurants and bars saw their liquor licenses temporarily suspended Friday over COVID-19 violations.

— Gov. Cuomo has reportedly asked the SLA to keep a careful watch on potential violations of COVID-19 safety protocol at bars frequented by college students in the state.

— Some large restaurant groups like Union Square Hospitality Group and chains like Bareburger are wondering if it’s worth it to return to indoor dining at 25 percent capacity.

— Crown Heights culinary events company Yardy is seeking volunteers to make weekly food deliveries to about 50 families in Brooklyn.

— Renowned cookbook shop Kitchen Arts and Letters is raising funds to stay open. So far, it has reached more than $85,000 of its $100,000 goal.

— The Bronx Night Market has returned to Fordham Plaza. It will run through November 15 this year.

— A group of Carmine Street-fronting West Village restaurants including Nami Nori and 232 Bleecker are hosting a socially distanced block party this weekend. Reservations for the Carmine Street Unblock Party can be made through each restaurant’s website.

— Michelin-starred Midtown restaurant Caviar Russe is expanding to open a caviar bar and retail shop.

— The outdoor dining bubbles have arrived in NYC: