New York City restaurants in need of a savior can strike one candidate off the list: the city itself.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press conference Monday that his administration cannot afford to support restaurants as they face massive financial losses.
“It’s a very painful situation and this is such a big part of our city’s life and such a big part of our communities, our economy, you name it,” the mayor said.
De Blasio noted that the city has attempted to provide support by expanding outdoor dining, which will continue next year. A limited version of indoor dining is set to begin Sept. 30., and the City Council recently approved a bill to add a 10 percent “Covid surcharge” to customers’ checks.
But New York’s restaurants continue to struggle.
De Blasio’s remarks follow the release of the NYC Hospitality Alliance’s latest report on restaurants, which found that 87 percent of establishments failed to pay full August rent — a new high.
The group’s executive director Andrew Rigie called for increased support of the industry moving forward.
“To ensure the survival of these vital small businesses and jobs, we urgently need rent relief, an indefinite extension of outdoor dining, a roadmap for expanded indoor dining, covered business interruption insurance and immediate passage of the Restaurants Act by Congress,” Rigie said in the statement.
Instead, de Blasio said that restaurants should look towards the federal government for a potential bailout. (Though the timing couldn’t be worse: On Monday, President Donald Trump declared New York an “anarchist” city, and said it should lose $7 billion in federal funding.)
“The only [solution] that’s worthy is a federal stimulus because there’s no way the city can afford the kind of support [restaurants] truly deserve, nor the state for that matter,” de Blasio said during the press conference.
Lawmakers have introduced the Restaurants Act, which would provide $120 billion in aid to struggling restaurants, but it has yet to move forward in Congress.