Restaurants & Bars | September 25, 2020 6:00 am

New York City Council Extends Landlord Protection Measures for Restaurants and Bars to 2021

Almost 90 percent of restaurants and bars in the city were unable to pay August rent

Closed signs hang on Gray's Papaya amid the coronavirus pandemic in New York City
Closed signs on Gray's Papaya amid the coronavirus pandemic in NYC.
Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be absolutely devastating for bars and restaurants, but those in New York City just got a little bit of relief: as Eater reports, the City Council voted Wednesday to extend a measure that protects restaurant and bar owners who were unable to pay their rent or may have otherwise violated their lease due to the pandemic.

The measure — which, as Eater notes, “suspended the enforcement of personal liability clauses in restaurant leases and prevented commercial landlords from going after a tenant’s personal assets, including their homes and life savings, in the event of a rent default” — was previously passed in May and set to expire on Sept. 30, but the extension means that they will remain in place until March 31, 2021.

The news comes on the heels of the troubling revelation that a whopping 87 percent of restaurants and bars in the city were unable to pay their full rent in August. Back in April, restaurateur Gabriel Stulman wrote a letter to the City Council urging them to extend the protections.

“Emotionally and financially, I am preparing for this possibility of going bankrupt and belly up,” he wrote. “Not being able to pay vendors, utility companies, taxes, etc. should be enough — however, that is not where this story ends. I am concerned that my landlords, in addition to them keeping my security deposits (most of them three months and in excess of $60,000), are entitled to — and likely will — sue me personally for my obligations under my various leases.”

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