New York City’s plan to rid the five boroughs of rats may be good news to many residents, but it presents a host of headaches and challenges for New York’s restaurants. Andrew Rigie, the executive director of NYC Hospitality Alliance, says the city must keep small businesses in mind before it puts the anti-rat container plan into effect. Speaking on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program, he explained why the current proposal has its flaws.
“For restaurants that can containerize their trash, it’s a great solution,” Rigie told Berman and Riedel. “The problem is that… small restaurants, for the most part, don’t have the space to put big, smelly garbage cans stored indoors, and in the alternative, they can place them right in front of their restaurants, but I don’t know if communities are going to like the look of that, because it’s gonna be 24/7, compared to trash bags on the curb at night, which still isn’t ideal, but sometimes you try to address one problem and you create a whole other list of problems.”
Compounding the issue is the rising cost of doing business in the city, which, Rigie noted, is “not just rent. In most commercial leases, the property taxes are passed through the commercial tenant. One of the things happening is property taxes continue to go up, up and up. They get passed on to the small restaurants and the other businesses, which poses another financial burden and another challenge for them to try to fight through.”
Rigie did have a mostly positive response to a City Council bill addressing rules for the permanence of outdoor dining sheds. “We think they’re going to go back to what the sidewalk cafes looked like pre-pandemic, so less red tape and bureaucracy, lower fees to participate, and more standardized and sustainable, which I hope will address some of the concerns that residents and communities, along with restauranteurs had with this emergency program that really evolved throughout the covid crisis.”
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