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Bed-Stuy Restaurant Owners to City and State: We Need More Help!

A coalition of Bed-Stuy restaurant owners have written a letter to the state senator asking for emergency relief!
Coalition of restaurant owners in Bed-Stuy
“This is really important if we don’t want to have empty storefronts,” said Charlotta Janssen, owner of Chez Oskar.

A recently released survey by the NYC Hospitality Alliance found most restaurants and food establishments in the city did not pay full rent in June.

According to the report, "A percentage of business owners said they paid no rent at all, while 73 percent of landlords did not waive rent payments or refused rent deferments during the same time period."

The truth is, restaurants are trying to bounce back from the economic shutdown behind the COVID-19 pandemic. And since the third phase of businesses reopening, which includes limited outdoor dining, they say business has improved a little, but ... Meh, not so much...

Some owners say they have received SBA grants of $1,000, which is great but covers but a fraction of their losses.

food service industry, struggling restaurants, Phase 2, COVID-19, relief for restaurants, Bedford-Stuyvesant, restaurant owners
Joy, owner of The Secret Garden in Bed-Stuy says, "Rent vouchers would be great..."

"It would be nice if we could get some rent vouchers like they're doing for the landlords," pleaded Tammy of Mom and Pop Soul Food in Bed-Stuy. "They're getting an extension. Why can't we?"

According to the report, profits for most restaurants are down 60-80 percent. And, say restaurant owners, between the outdoor dining restrictions and the lack of financial support, the dine-in food service industry literally is starving.

"I really hope that our officials that are having these conversations think about trying to grant us a lifeline of utility and rent vouchers," said Henry Kwame, owner of Butch & Coco.

"It would be nice if we could get some rent vouchers like they're doing for the landlords,"

A coalition of 25 Bed-Stuy based restaurants have banded together asking city and state legislators for a hospitality bailout bill that includes a streamlined approach.

In a letter to State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, the coalition is calling for rent and utility relief from the federal and/or state government as food establishments across the City mull closing their doors forever.

The group is hoping that the State Legislature can advance legislation that provides rent and utility relief to the small businesses in the city, particularly food establishments.

The coalition is asking for legislation that provides a sliding scale for those restaurant owners most impacted by COVID-19, as well as a government response that ensures that any relief policy put forth provides help for those most harmed. 

"This is really important if we don't want to have empty storefronts... Commercial rents-- especially for restaurants-- can be incredibly high," said Charlotta Janssen, owner of Chez Oskar.

Check out the video the coalition put together: