According to the latest NYC Hospitality Alliance survey, it's becoming increasingly difficult for restaurants across the metro area to pay their rent in full and on time. The return of indoor dining couldn't come soon enough as struggling eateries cling on for dear life.
The survey found 92% of more than 400 respondents couldn't pay rent in December, a number that has exponentially moved higher during the pandemic. In June, 80% of restaurants couldn't afford to pay rent; July 83%; August 87%; October 88%. The trend outlines the struggle Big Apple restaurants have endured since the pandemic began.
Before the pandemic, more than 25,000 restaurants, bars, and nightclubs employed 325,000 people across all seven boroughs. So far, thousands of eateries have closed permanently, and at least half are at risk of closing if government aid isn't seen or restrictions aren't lifted. The industry's consolidation has been devastating for the labor force, with some 140,000 jobs lost.
NYC Hospitality Alliance survey said 40% of respondents said landlords reduced rent, 36% said landlords deferred rent, and 14% said they could renegotiate leases.
The report's release comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo eased restrictions on restaurants statewide last week. He said restaurants and bars could stay open longer and has allowed for indoor dining at 25% capacity in the city.
"We're nearly a year into the public health and economic crisis that has decimated New York City's restaurants, bars, and nightlife venues," said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.
Cuomo's ban on indoor dining last fall produced a dark winter for many restaurants who had to build tents on their patios or sidewalks to house guests and protect them from the freezing temperatures.