Property owner tells restaurants to pay employees, not rent during coronavirus pandemic

"This is a new experience for everyone," one restaurant owner said.

March 19, 2020, 12:10 PM

A property owner in Arkansas will not make its restaurant tenants pay rent in April during the novel coronavirus pandemic, in which the practice of social distancing has impacted businesses like eateries.

Young Investment Company, based in Jonesboro, said that instead, they ask the restaurant owners to use the money "to pay your employees and take care of your family."

"Stay strong. We will get through this together!" according to a message from the company's Facebook page posted Tuesday.

Young Investment Company owns property that houses Eleanor’s Pizzeria, Roots, City Wok, Main Street Coffee and the Parsonage.

Roots Restaurant in Jonesboro, Ark., is one of five restaurants in the city that have had their April rents waived by their property owner, Young Investments.

“This is a new experience for everyone," Karl Lowe, co-owner and executive chef at Roots, told ABC Jonesboro affiliate KAIT.

John Myers, co-owner and chef at The Parsonage, told KAIT that he saw a 60% decrease in attendance just this past weekend, drastically affecting the restaurant's revenue.

"Mr. Young doing that for us this month ... that money goes straight to the employees," Myers said.

What to know about Coronavirus:

There are more than 218,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the globe and more than 9,400 in the United States.

As the cases continue to rise in the U.S., cities have taken unprecedented measures to slow the spread. In states such as California, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, officials have ordered dine-in restaurants to close and only offer take-out or delivery.

In Arkansas, there are at least 37 confirmed cases, according to the state's department of health. Officials have not yet ordered a shutdown of restaurants there, but some have taken it upon themselves to close their dining rooms.

Related Topics