The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) is the City’s leading real estate trade association representing commercial, residential, and institutional property owners, builders, managers, investors, brokers, salespeople, and other organizations and individuals active in New York City real estate. REBNY thanks Chairs Riley and Velazquez, the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Worker Protection as well as the Land Use Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises for the opportunity to provide testimony regarding Pre-Considered Intro T2022-0088 and Land Use Action T2022-0092, which work to facilitate a permanent open restaurants program for New York City.
Restaurants, their owners, and employees have been hard hit by the pandemic, experiencing a 38 percent drop in employments from December 2019 to June 2021, and some restaurants are still facing a 50 percent decline in revenues. Given the adverse impact of the pandemic to all in-person establishments that serve food and beverages, REBNY encourages the administration to build upon the success of the temporary open restaurants program that has successfully provided thousands of restaurants and bars with the necessary tools to stay afloat. It is also important that a permanent program strike the appropriate balance to ensure that public safety issues like fire prevention and fire safety, as well as quality of life issues like noise pollution, street cleanliness, and freight and delivery accommodations are all accounted for.