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California Restaurants Impacted By COVID-19 May Soon Be Allowed To Renegotiate Rents

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – Restaurants, bars, and cafes across California may soon be able to renegotiate their rents due to the coronavirus pandemic, under a proposal being considered in the legislature.

State lawmakers introduced amendments to Senate Bill 939, a proposal by State Sens. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) that would prohibit commercial landlords from evicting businesses and non-profits during the pandemic.

The amendments would allow establishments to renegotiate their lease if they've lost 40 percent of revenue due to COVID-19 restrictions and operate with reduced capacity due to social distancing. Tenants would also be able to terminate the lease without penalty if an agreement can't be reached with their landlord.

"We cannot stand by while these hospitality businesses shut down around the state because their business models no longer sustain the rent they are legally obligated to pay," Wiener said in a statement. "These amendments will provide stronger protections and more options for our businesses and nonprofits to help them get through the COVID-19 pandemic, which is impacting them so deeply at no fault of their own."

Senate Bill 939 is set to be heard in committee later this month.

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