The NYC Hospitality Alliance presents important updates for hospitality operators:
Outdoor Dining Tents Now Allowed:
Today July 10th, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a bulletin permitting the use of tents for restaurants offering outdoor dining services, which the NYC Hospitality Alliance advocated for. Tents, or other shelters, used by restaurants or bars that have obtained approval through NYC Open Restaurant Program should be less than 400 SF each in area, have at least two open sides, and can be used on both sidewalks and roadways. Moreover, areas of multiple tents that are combined, or are tied to each other, cannot exceed 400 SF in total. The use of tents and other shelter does not require a DOB permit, but they should not be used during inclement weather such as high wind condition that could cause tents fall over or fly away injuring person or damaging property. Please sign up for DOB's weather advisory subscription and follow manufacturer's guidance to secure safe installations.
For more information, please refer to the full document here.
Commercial Tenant Protection Laws:
Today July 10th, a pair of landlords filed a lawsuit challenging the tenant protection bills enacted into law by Mayor de Blasio in May.
The lawsuit challenges two important COVID-related pieces of legislation passed by the City Council with the Alliance's strong support, one which makes it illegal for landlords to make harassing demands for rent, and the other prohibits enforcement of personal guarantees in leases related to COVID-19. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit make several legal claims under the US and NYS constitutions. They say the anti-harassment law violates their Free Speech rights, and that the personal guaranty law violates their Due Process rights and their rights against government interference in private contracts. These laws were thoroughly vetted by the City Council and Mayor before they were enacted, and the City government is confident of their constitutionality.
The pandemic has been a devastating blow to NYC's small business owners and their employees. This legislation aims at supporting them through these difficult times. Many small businesses are hanging on by a thread as business owners are operating in low liquidity in the hope of keeping their businesses up and running. With rents putting enormous financial pressure on restaurants, bars and clubs, and meaningful rent relief has not been offered by the government, we need to find ways to solve the issue of rent for struggling eating and drinking establishments across the city before it's too late.
In response, the Alliance released the following statement:
"This critically important legislation protects tens of thousands of small business owners from personal financial ruin and landlord harassment, and we're confident that the courts will agree that it's necessary and lawful. Landlords that care about their community should not bring such a lawsuit or try to personally bankrupt a restaurant owner that was mandated by government to close their business due to a pandemic."