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Nearly 90% Of NYC Eateries, Bars Couldn’t Pay Last Month’s Rent Amid COVID Regulations

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Nearly 90% of restaurants and bars throughout New York City failed to pay their rent in full during August as a result of lost business due to strict coronavirus regulations, a Monday study found.

Eighty-seven percent of eateries and bars in the city failed to cover their full rent in August, according to a NYC Hospitality Alliance survey of more than 450 dining establishments. A total of 34% of restaurant businesses could not afford to pay any rent at all, according to the survey. The percentage of businesses that failed to make rent has risen from 83% in July and 80% in June, the study found.

“Restaurants, bars and nightlife venues have been financially devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance Andrew Rigie said in the release. “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,” Rigie continued.

Around 13% of industry workers surveyed paid rent in full in the month of August and around 90% of those participating indicated they were unable to renegotiate their leases. Sixty percent of landlords have declined to wave rent, according to the study.

Outdoor dining has been allowed in NYC, but indoor service is not set to resume until Sept. 30 when restaurants may fill up to 25% of capacity, according to a Sept. 9 announcement from Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

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