Crown Shy owners start campaign for restaurants

Fidi residents and Crown Shy owners James Kent and Jeff Katz have put together a campaign — Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants, or ROAR — that you can support via a petition to save the city’s restaurants. It includes some important details about how the restaurant industry works, and what it means to this city, and their suggestions on how to move forward. Read through or just sign and pass it on — it’s an easy ask.

Here’s what you might not know:

  • Collectively restaurants employ over 15 million people nationwide.
  • Two-thirds of all restaurants are independently-owned and not part of a big chain like McDonalds.
  • Unlike let’s say the airline industry, the restaurant industry is not represented at government relief negotiations.
  • Government regulates hospitality businesses to a greater extent than almost all other industries, with detailed rules regarding employee compensation, hours, breaks and more. This has led to an industry standard of razor thin operating margins, making it hard to float a business for any length of time.

Kent and Katz go on: “The irony is, however, that in the wake of this global pandemic, all messaging and action from the lawmakers thus far has left us to fend for ourselves. Why would the government that has over-regulated us now be silent and, worse still, vague on what we should do when we need direction and clarity the most?”

Here’s what ROAR is asking for specifically — measures that would help restaurants be in a position to reopen and rehire when this is over:

  • A true, mandated hospitality businesses shutdown, which should in turn trigger insurance coverage and Warn Act exemption.
  • Provide rent abatement for the duration of the administrative closure followed by percentage rent through 2020 for tenants. This must be coupled with mortgage forgiveness for landlords.
  • Suspend sales and payroll tax through end of year. Permit deferral of utility payments until reopening.
  • Maintain current SLA payment extensions and on-premise sales allowances.
  • Require business loss insurance to cover COVID-19 closures for hospitality businesses. The governor must declare that the pandemic has caused physical loss and damage.
  • Declare that the Warn Act does not apply at the federal and state level.
  • Protect unemployment insurance premiums so rates are not increased.
  • Add flexibility to the definition of small business to allow small to mid-size restaurants to apply for aid.


  1. Supporting restaurants during COVID 19

  2. Please save our restaurants! They’re a nyc cultural institution – just like Central Park, or the met, or the Empire State Building. I think this is amazing.