City Will Delay Reopening Bars and Restaurants Inside; 4 of 5 Restaurants Didn’t Pay June Rent


Plexiglass was already installed at some restaurants, including Joanne’s, in preparation for indoor dining.

Restaurants were expected to open for in-person dining on July 6, this coming Monday. But Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo said on Wednesday that indoor dining will be delayed, because it’s proven to be too dangerous in other parts of the country.

“Honestly, even a week ago, honestly, I was hopeful we could,” de Blasio said, according to the Associated Press. “But the news we have gotten from around the country gets worse and worse all the time.”

“Outdoor dining unquestionably has been a great hit,” he added. “And I think the bottom line is that outdoors is working, period. This is one of the things we’ve learned. Outdoors is where we need to be to the maximum extent possible this summer as we fight back this disease.”

Restaurants are clearly hurting. The NYC Hospitality Alliance said on Wednesday that most restaurants have not been keeping up with rent.

“Four of five survey respondents reported that they did not pay full rent in June, and 36 percent of respondents said they paid no rent at all. Of the portion of respondents who paid some of their rent, 90 percent paid half or less.

Nearly three quarters of landlords (73%), who are under their own set of unique challenges, did not waive rent payments for restaurants, bars and clubs in June. 60 percent of landlords refused rent deferments during the same time period. Only 10 percent of restaurants, bars and clubs were able to renegotiate their leases.”

The alliance released a statement about the delay in reopening:

“Restaurants and bars have been making enormous financial sacrifices for four months, and their survival now depends on compensation reflective of those losses. We respect the government and public health officials’ decision to postpone the anticipated July 6th reopening of indoor dining, but the longer neighborhood restaurants and bars are forced to be closed, the harder it will be for them to ever successfully reopen. This makes it even more urgent to forgive rent, expand outdoor dining and enact other responsive policies to save our city’s beloved small businesses and jobs.” -Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance

FOOD, NEWS | 44 comments | permalink
    1. Wijmlet says:

      EXCELLENT IDEA TO KEEP THINGS CLOSED FOR NOW.

      • B.B. says:

        Are you going to pony up money for these restaurants to pay their rent?

        • C M says:

          Hey, B.B., not sure if you’ve heard, but we’re in the middle of an unprecedented viral pandemic and our particular country never got a firm hold on it. NYC, to be specific, was hit harder than any place in the world. Pretty crazy stuff, look it up when you have a second. Anyway, short version is: it’s not normal times, so our problems can’t be addressed with normal solutions, or you know, trying to force a square into a round. Just a thought, but like I said, you might wanna Google the whole “pandemic” thing since it looks like you’re unaware of what’s going on. Have a good one, and stay safe!

        • Hmm says:

          Or at least pony up the money for a computer course to learn how to take caps lock off

    2. Kathleen says:

      It’s certainly a painful situation all around. I feel for the restaurant owners and their employees and hope they make it.

      • Kathleen- Hope don’t pay the astronomic rent and tax bill, evidently.

        My fear is, restaurants are only the canary in the coalmine at this point; it’s only a question of HOW MANY businesses we see all around us are actually zombie businesses in disguise or, at best (like that willow that was pictured in the other article)just one blow short of a terminal collapse.

        I’m walking around on tiptoes, fingers crossed…

        I tipped my barber a $50 last week; the girl who washed my hair got $10 and the guy who then dried it for a few moments got $5– and that was after I paid the bill that had jumped from $22 to $30… and before you think I’m generous, I’ll remind you that the gov’t gave us all $1200 a month or two ago; and I think the point was to spend it locally.

        I really hope my barbershop survives this very tough period.

        • sarah says:

          thank you! that is exactly what those funds were for – thank you for supporting the neighborhood!

        • Not Rich says:

          You’ve got a love rich people. I mean, I appreciate that you were generous with these folks, but the point of the $12,000 was not to “spend it locally.” For those of us who have been laid off, including me, the point of the money was to pay our own rent and also to keep being able to afford eating. Not in restaurants, just food period. I mean, again, it’s absolutely wonderful that you were being generous with how you spend yours. But acting like we all have enough money to do the same instead of using that $12,000 to pay down the Visa bill we’re all having to amount while we wait for unemployment checks that haven’t come, I’m just a little sick of the entitlement.

        • Dk says:

          Thank you!
          I love when people get it!

        • Not all says:

          Not all. I was one of the New Yorkers who last year made just over the threshold and received nothing.
          Not asking for sympathy but being in a commission job I’ve made 15% of my normal comp. Be careful when you generalize

        • wally says:

          Last week I went into the stores that were open in my area and doled out twenty dollar bills to each of them

    3. John says:

      Time to learn to cook and make moonshine.

    4. ben says:

      This is a good call, which is rare for deBlasio these days.
      Certainly a difficult decision to make. But I’d take short-term pain over long-term back-and-forth yo-yo style reopening-closing that CA, AZ, TX, and FL are doing.

    5. Madeline Rogers says:

      Too many restaurant and mom-and-pop closures will kill our beloved neighborhood. I hope all condo and co-op boards and landlords consider preferential rents and, as needed, rent forgiveness, for such businesses, which are the lifeblood of the city, contributing character and providing vital services. Losing such businesses will contribute big time to urban blight — something anyone with a financial investment should wish to forestall.

    6. Woody says:

      I feel terribly for these restaurant owners but landlords have their own expenses.

      Maybe the city can freeze property taxes if the landlord agrees to pass these savings onto their tenants’ rents.

      Contrary to popular myth about landlords being big corporations many are actually small family owned businesses that can’t weather this storm.

      There is no easy answer. Everyone is hurting.

    7. Richard Cohen says:

      Based on the city and state green light for indoor dining the restaurants purchased food and brought back servers and kitchen staff. They will lose a great deal of money. For many this will be the straw that back s their back. I wonder what the Mayors decision would have been if he was not receiving a salary until the restaurants reopened.

    8. B.B. says:

      Cuomo and BdeB might as well just go ahead and shut restaurants down, instead of death by one thousand cuts.

      Only thing largely keeping many places open was because they got federal PPP money. Those terms will begin to expire by September or October and you are going to see a wave of small business, but especially restaurants just shut down.

      You can’t treat businensses like this and expect them to lie down for it. Restaurant, gym and other places spent large sums of money (they often couldn’t spare) in preparation for reopening, now they’re being told “sorry, our bad, you cannot do so”.

      • UWS_lifer says:

        I always enjoy your informative comments, B.B. but I am shocked at how obtuse you are being with regard to this pandemic.

        Not helpful at all. You want us to end up like Arizona and Texas again? Do you want to see more pop up morgues?? Get a grip please.

        • sg says:

          UWS Lifer – NYS & NYC wishes it could be like TX, FL and the other states that at least acknowledge the enormous pain caused…and are trying to balance risk with the need to re-open. Leave it to NYS/NYC to continue to punish small business by waiting for a cure or vaccine…when you made a career of living off taxpayers (Cuomo & DeBlasio), you’re ignorant to basic economics.

          • UWS_lifer says:

            Economic issues can be dealt with relatively easily. Does losing businesses really cause more pain than tens of thousands dead?

            Did you really just say that we should be more like TX and FL? And I am supposed to take you seriously? Just Wow!

            I will addressed my comments to B.B., who is a man of intellect and character that I just happen to disagree with on this topic. You could learn a lot from him.

        • B.B. says:

          Am sorry you feel that way, but what have said happens to be true.

          Public health and safety is all very well, but no one is telling businesses how they are to survive long periods with reduced or no income.

          People thought there was a huge amount of vacant retail before covid-19 haven’t seen anything.

          Places are going to close and not come back. This already is happening all over city.

          https://gothamist.com/news/report-nyc-will-end-2020-500000-fewer-jobs?to=comments

          • UWS_lifer says:

            Unfortunately, I agree with you. We haven’t seen anything yet as far as the economic crisis that is going to hit virtually every sector.

            Retail, Food & Bev, Hospitality, Commercial and Residential real estate, and on and on. Throw in some social and political unrest and it could be a perfect storm of misery.

            It’s gonna be a rough couple years and we’re gonna need all hands on deck to rebuild. Economics is critical but without our lives and our health what do we have?

          • EdNY says:

            Why is it so difficult to accept that opening restaurant interiors is enormously risky at this stage? No one is happy about anyone losing income or businesses, but how many deaths is it worth? And I’m not talking about half a dozen new cases. With what is known today about both the problems of air circulation and the inexcusable sloppiness of so many NYers in their behavior, I believe the risk is far too great. The virus cares nothing about the economy – only making people sick. If you want to use the “balanced” openings in AZ, TX etc., let the data speak for itself.

    9. Sam says:

      A disaster like this needed the federal government to quickly take charge and coordinate a strong, effective response for the states to follow that would protect all of its citizens health and businesses economically. The federal government has failed every step of the way. That failure, ignorance, avoidance and denial coupled with an overly optimistic, premature reopening is never going to end well. For anyone.

      • Boris says:

        The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.
        Ronald Reagan

        These are local issues, not federal.

        • sg says:

          Boris – I agree 100%. Local Executives (Mayor & Governor) were in the best position to know the impact and how best to treat their constituents. The federal government is a backstop. President Trump definitely did that…providing a medical ship, outfitting field hospitals and providing ventilators, but they were not even needed. Cuomo caused the most deaths by requiring nursing homes taking in COVID+ patients…he’s the guy who failed miserably.

    10. Sarah says:

      “Restaurants and bars have been making enormous financial sacrifices for four months, and their survival now depends on compensation reflective of those losses.”

      What’s going on with the restaurant industry is breaking my heart, but this is a very weird way of putting it. Compensation?

      • “What’s going on with the restaurant industry is breaking my heart, but this is a very weird way of putting it. Compensation?”

        Of course; that’s the restaurant industry lobbyist making his pitch. If you need a hand, ask for an arm. If you need a hand and ask for a hand, you may get a fingernail.

        Negotiating 101; he’s opening a public discussion so that he’s the one that can attempt to set the terms of that discussion.

        It’ll be a hard sell but remember, the restaurants are blameless: they made all the investments, followed all the rules, paid their employees, their suppliers and their taxes and still they got shut down, so they do have a case, but how strong?

        To some degree that’ll depend on the court of public opinion. Public opinion tends to be emotional, nostalgic and fairly fickle.

    11. S. Hayes says:

      A few thoughts: Florida is treating the virus with little respect compared to NYC.
      Palm Beach County with all its money and famous residents has had more deaths than…
      Australia. Also, we should not act as if NYC is into self inflicted economic hurt. California mirrors what our legislators have decreed for July. Other states as well.
      NYC has shown great responsibility in the face of a virus that feeds and spreads on ignorance. Finally, it has been reported that our President’s grandfather died from the 1918 flu. Let’s “hope” this lesson is remembered- without your health you’re nothing. Not an owner, customer or leader.
      Rather be in Palm Beach than the UWS?

      • Boris says:

        Making such comparisons is mind-numbingly useless. What’s the average age of coronavirus victims in Palm Beach County compared to all of Australia?

    12. geoff says:

      If Trump wishes to blame, and hold ‘accountable’, China for the initial spread of this corona virus to this country, then US citizens may want to hold him accountable for the further spread across this country.

      Though the first argument is probably indefensible, the second is probably provable.

    13. AC says:

      Hard to expect the landlord to suspend rent collection, when the City and State are expecting their share of taxes. State and City should be suspending Taxes on the Landlords, who could then pass on the break to their renters.

    14. Sheila Wolk says:

      I dont understand how people who want to eat and drink complain that they cant go out to do that when they can save their lives and other lives by staying home for a while!! Are their lives that incidental that they will die for a drink or dining out???
      …Ridiculous to me that so many are complaining about this while the Mayor and Gov are trying to SAVE OUR LIVES…Grow up people who are complaining!! your complaints are minuscule compared to thousands who have died and others fighting for their lives in ICU’s

    15. T says:

      We need to open. Our hospitals are not overwhelmed and we know who is at risk. This disease is everywhere and is not going to be contained by social distancing or masks

      • BilsMom says:

        I’m all for reopening and letting diners decide if they want to eat in. We are killing our small businesses based on virtually no science about what “socially distanced” indoor dining is about. And malls like hudson yards… TONS of space inside but those retailers are all stuck for the rent for who knows how long again, based on very little information. I have a friend who won’t drink from a non disposable cup from a restaurant despite science saying soap and water kills germs. Yes, no kidding there is a pandemic going on. But no, don’t tell me that we are spreading it just by being in the same room as someone. Or even the same massive airport-style mall that Hudson Yards is. People are scared and irrationally gutting everything hoping to hit on some answer. As for community spread, yes we are going to get it again from all the travelers coming her from other states despite the 2 week rules… that is just being realistic.

    16. Frederika Maguire says:

      My husband, who has had a bar for almost 25 years was devastated by the news yesterday not to reopen on July 6th. New York City has followed the rules and we should reopen safely and give it a chance. We have been closed for almost four months now, and we were starting to have some hope, but bars and restaurants will close for good. We now owe our landlord back rent and still have to pay bills for the business. I hope that the Mayor and Governor reverse their decision. They sit at their briefings in their well made suits and receive their paychecks. This is a total disgrace. If you can have your nails done, get a haircut and go to the dentist, you can go to a bar and be six feet apart from one another. If you are concerned about being in a bar or restaurant, stay home. The Governor and Mayor have lost my vote for any future elections.

      • BilsMom says:

        >>The Governor and Mayor have lost my vote for any future elections.

        Frederika that is part of the problem. You are never going to see DeBlasio on the ballot for Mayor again in NYC. As for Cuomo, his term is up in 2023 but I would think he will run for explore a run for president before then.

        • B.B. says:

          Cuomo began raising funds to run for a fourth term not long after winning his third. The man isn’t going anywhere unless he’s given the push, or death.

          Given current high approval numbers, and what passes for voting in NYS suggest people make u their minds for AC to win again in 2022.

          AC should have made a WH run in 2016, but the Clintons pushed him aside to clear decks for HRC. He could have run now (lord knows the democrat field was weak), but didn’t.

      • MaryC says:

        Fredrika, I am so sorry that you, like many other small businesses, are going through such rough times. My family lost a small business several years ago due to hurricane related losses.

        The issue many of us are dealing with is, what risks are worth it. Not just to each of us individually because of course we have choices. But when collective behavior harms and could be fatal to others, we can’t just say, well everyone can choose for themself. Restaurant and bar owners can’t be blamed for the behavior of their customers (though can’t they be charged with enabling drunk driving if tbey serve to an intoxicated person? ) but they can’t stop the bad behavior either. Bars and restaurants are definitely important to culture here, but I can’t see them as more or less essential than my local bookstore which couldn’t even stay open for outside or takeout like restaurants could. It’s a lose lose situation, but I would err on the side of saving lives, not just my life. Just my opinion.

        (y the way, I agree with you about nail salons but dentists?)

      • EdNY says:

        The problem is that NYC has NOT sufficiently followed the rules. There have been too many people dispensing with masks and not respecting needed group size. I wish it were as simple as saying you are risking only your own health if you spend an hour inside a restaurant with dozens of unmasked others and an air circulation system that has not been upgraded with the appropriate filters. Staying home would only protect you if you don’t go out at all. This is, and has always been, a community challenge.

      • Steevie says:

        Bars are a real problem because many people go there to talk to other people. If they are playing music it is hard to hear from 6 feet away so you might cut down the distance. And of course most people drink because they find the effect it has on their mood to be pleasant. It puts their concerns at a psychological distance. Not what you want during a pandemic.

    17. S. Hayes says:

      First of all let’s remember who has lost and who is inconvenienced. Our son in law lost his bar. But not his life. It closed in March and will never reopen. (East Village)
      As to a comparison using Palm Beach County with Australia I used a continent of 25M vs. a county of 1.5M Boris, not even PBC has that many older residents to justify a death toll higher than an entire continent almost 17 times its population.

      • joe_the_accountant says:

        You fail to consider that most of those dying from coronavirus are over age 70 or have an underlying medical issue. Of course there are some outliers that should be investigated further but those are going to be in the low single digit percentage range.

        If you are in an at risk group, you should be extra careful. If you are under 60 and in decent health you may still get coronavirus but you will be back in good health in a few days. No reason to shut down the entire economy.

        Look at the official NYC stats and we are hovering around 20-25 deaths a day which is basically a small rounding error in a city of 8 million. Similar small numbers for new hospitalizations.

      • Frederika Maguire says:

        I’m sorry that your son-in-law lost his business. That must be devastating. I am well aware of all of the lives we have lost, but thank you for reminding me, and yes, this is a terrible thing. The virus has affected all of us in some way. The second part of your comment is a bit over my head, but that is okay. Stay healthy and be safe!