Atlanta airport concessionaires receive rent relief via new legislation

COVID-19, Restaurant Industry News,

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

With the novel coronavirus pandemic transforming airports into ghost towns, the city of Atlanta is offering a lifeline to concessionaires at Hartsfield-Jackson.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Wednesday signed legislation that temporarily reduces rental requirements on concessionaires and car rental companies at the airport. The legislation suspends the "minimum annual guarantee" payment obligation in the concessions and consolidated car rental agreements until June 30.

In effect, businesses at Hartsfield-Jackson will pay a percentage of their income in rent for the next four months, with no minimum requirement. The legislation, sponsored by Atlanta City Councilmembers Andre Dickens and Marci Collier Overstreet, is "designed to allow companies to use four months of rental funds to provide relief to employees experiencing reduced hours and lost wages as a result of the COVID-19 health threat," according to a news release.

“Atlanta families—many of whom are already living paycheck to paycheck—will be overburdened if we do not provide much-needed economic relief immediately,” Bottoms said in a prepared statement. “We are asking our business partners to continue showing compassion toward their employees, and when possible, provide continuity of pay for their hourly associates.”

After June 30, the city will have the option to extend the relief program for another 30-day period if warranted.

The COVID-19 outbreak is taking a devastating toll on numerous industries, particularly aviation and hospitality. Delta alone is cutting its flight capacity by 70% in the coming months. Restaurant sales in the state of Georgia are off 50% to 70%, year over year.

Bottoms has declared a state of emergency in the city and on Monday signed an executive order limiting occupancy at all "public-gathering spaces" to no more than 50 people.