In July, 83% of NYC bars and restaurants weren’t able to pay full rent.
The NYC Hospitality Alliance, a nonprofit trade organization representing the hospitality industry in New York City surveyed 471 restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and event venues in NYC about their rent obligations during COVID-19, and found that during July, 83% of NYC bars, restaurants, and nightlife establishments weren’t able to pay full rent, while 37% couldn’t pay at all.
The city has tried helping
According to the Morning Brew newsletter, NYC allowed margs-to-go and, with indoor dining banned indefinitely, set up the Open Restaurants program to convert sidewalks, parking spaces, and even streets into outdoor dining spaces. Nearly 10,000 restaurants signed up, helping an estimated 80,000 laid-off employees get back to work, but social distancing and reduced capacity means they still aren’t bringing in enough foot traffic to cover expenses. Open Restaurants runs through October 31, and NYC is considering options to keep it running through winter for al freezing dining. Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised it’ll return again next year by June 1.
While New York is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters than any city in the country, small businesses are the city’s backbone, from coffee shops to dry cleaners to hardware stores, over 2,800 NYC businesses have closed since March 1, reports The New York Times, the most of any major U.S. city, according to Yelp. About half the closings have been in Manhattan, where office buildings have been hollowed out, its wealthier residents have left for second homes and tourists have stayed away. Of those, minority- and female-owned businesses were likely the most vulnerable.
When the pandemic eventually subsides, roughly one-third of the city’s 240,000 small businesses may never reopen, according to a report by the Partnership for New York City, an influential business group. Small businesses account for more than 3 million jobs in the city, and so far, those businesses have shed 520,000 jobs. When the pandemic eases, a third of NYC’s 240,000 small businesses may be gone.
The hope was that the closing of businesses would be temporary and many could weather the financial blow, but that is no more.