Arkansas Property Owner Tells Restaurants to Pay Staff Instead of Rent Amid Coronavirus Crisis
A local property owner has announced that their restaurant tenants will not be expected to pay rent in April
On Tuesday, Young Investment Company, L.L.C. — which owns a number of restaurants in Jonesboro — announced that they would not “expect” to receive rent payments for the month of April, and encouraged the restaurants to use that money to help support their staff.
“In an effort to do our part, Young Investment Company will not expect it’s Restaraunt [sic] tenants to pay April rent. We ask that you use this money instead to pay your employees and take care of your family,” they wrote on Facebook. “Stay strong. We will get through this together!”
A similar measure was also announced last week, as a Maine landlord revealed he would not be collecting rent next month as many of his tenants worked hourly jobs and would likely be hit hard during the coronavirus outbreak.
Although restaurants and bars in Arkansas have remained open so far, revenue has significantly decreased amid the spread of the virus.
“This past weekend, we saw a 60 percent cut in attendance in what we were bringing in revenue-wise,” John Myers, a co-owner and chef at one of the restaurants housed in a Young Investment Company, L.L.C. property, told KAIT.
Myers went on to share how much he appreciated his landlord’s act of kindness and said he would be using the money to pay staff. “Mr. Young doing that for us this month…that money goes straight to the employees,” he said.
When asked about his decision to not require his tenants to pay their April rent, Young simply told the outlet, “It was just the right thing to do.”
Although restaurants and bars in the state have yet to shutter their doors, earlier this week, Little Rock mayor Frank Scott Jr. announced a citywide curfew from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m., which went into effect on Wednesday.
As of Thursday, there have been at least 33 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Arkansas, with zero deaths, according to The New York Times.
As the United States continues to tackle the pandemic, bars and restaurants across the country have either closed completely or transitioned to only carry out and deliveries in an attempt to help reduce the spread of the disease.
Restrictions on food service establishments are currently in place in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.