A longstanding New York trade organization representing restaurants is calling for the state to offer tax breaks and cap food delivery service fees — in addition to a host of other requests, as the industry prepares for drastic economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.
The New York State Restaurant Association, which represents restaurant owners across the state, has published an open letter to state Governor Andrew Cuomo in a plea for business support following recent measures to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. At press conferences on Thursday, the state banned all group gatherings over 500 people and mandated a 50 percent reduction in capacity for any facility that holds less than 500 people, including restaurants and bars.
But the governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio offered little clarity on how restaurants and their staff would be able to weather the extreme blows to their businesses that the government regulations will cause.
With restaurants already seeing up to 70 percent slashes in revenues over the past week, and some announcing indefinite closures, the organization is demanding that the government step in and provide more relief to small businesses, as “the dramatic decline in business will only get worse,” writes Melissa Fleischut, the president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association.
One of the requests — making no-interest loans available — is already in place in New York City. Other asks include putting a cap on food delivery service fees to prevent potential price gouging, enacting a 90-day extension on sales tax payments, and eliminating late-payment fees related to business and property taxes. The letter also requests that government officials educate the public on safe dining out practices.
“We have member restaurants who have seen a 55 percent decrease in their business, and if they were to take on any additional costs they may not be able to stay in business,” Fleischut writes. “For some restaurants, it may be impossible to keep their doors open.”
In Sunset Park’s Chinatown, multiple restaurants that have been suffering since news broke of the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China have been forced to close their doors indefinitely.
Eater has reached out to the governor’s office, the mayor’s office, and the local health department for clarity on the mandates that were announced today, and what support restaurants can expect in light of the new regulations and bans.
“We cannot overstate how many restaurants are facing a dire future right now,” Fleischut writes. “We want to stay open and keep employees on the payroll, but for some that will not be possible if this pandemic, and the associated quarantines, continue for even the next month.”
Here’s the full letter:
Source: Thanks https://ny.eater.com/2020/3/12/21177576/ny-restaurants-government-assistance-coronavirus-mandate