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City Council: Leases, Sidewalk Cafes and

By NYC Hospitality Alliance

We're happy to announce our recommendations will be included as part of a proposed legislative package of small business relief bills

As you know, the NYC Hospitality Alliance has been advocating around the clock for our restaurant and nightlife industry.  We're happy to announce our recommendations will be included as part of a proposed legislative package of small business relief bills at their first ever remote Stated Hearing on Wednesday April 22nd. 
 
  • Suspending Personal Liability on Commercial Leases: The Council will consider legislation to temporarily suspend personal liability provisions in leases known as "good guy clauses" and other rental agreements of COVID-19 impacted businesses for the period of time that the state of emergency was in effect, ensuring that City business owners don't face personal financial ruin or bankruptcy over the business's inability to pay rent due to the emergency orders.
  • Suspending Sidewalk Cafe Fees: Fees for the entire 2020 year to be suspended and refunded if already paid. This is one simple way that the City can extend relief to small businesses through the suspension of fixed-cost fees. Though a small step, suspending these fees will translate to reducing fixed costs for the City's cash-strapped restaurants, bars and nightlife.
     
  • Commercial Tenant Harassment: As availability of federal loans is limited, many businesses impacted by this crisis are unable to pay their rent. The Council will consider legislation to make threatening a commercial tenant based on their status as a COVID-19 impacted business or person a form of harassment punishable by a civil penalty of $10,000 to $50,000. The threat of harassment will particularly impact the City's small, independently-owned, and immigrant-owned businesses, many of which were operating on thin margins and struggling to pay rent even before this crisis.
     
The City Council's press release announcing the legislation included the following quote the NYC Hospitality Alliance's Andrew Rigie and Robert Bookman:
 
"It's clear the City Council and its leadership have listened to small business owners and are taking quick action to support local restaurants, bars and clubs during the COVID-19 crisis. This package of small business relief bills is a critical step in our effort to save our beloved eating and drinking spots. We thank Speaker Johnson and the Council for their support and urge the swift passage and enactment of this legislation."
 
The NYC Hospitality Alliance will continue to fight for the future and survival of our industry.

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