Belgium in Brief: Will terraces survive the winter?

Belgium in Brief: Will terraces survive the winter?

As with many cities on the continent, café culture is a core part of how we unwind and socialise in Brussels, with the terraces popular with tourists and locals alike. Exactly why we have a propensity to prefer outdoors to indoors isn't immediately clear.

Could it be the questionable décor inside some of the city's establishments? Or perhaps the irresistible allure of une clope with your apéro. In southern Europe the appeal of sitting outside is obvious. Yet in Brussels, the terraces remain full long after the summer salad days turn grey.

Even in the depths of winter, patrons seem willing to withstand the elements with a drink. Do Belgians have thicker skins or are we a nation of masochists? Whatever the reason, the will to sit outside withstands inclement conditions.

Yet for all the resilience that residents display in the biting cold, small gestures to keep customers from freezing are much appreciated. To this end, terrace heaters are undeniably the most effective remedy, with the seats underneath being particularly prized. This may now end, with a regional ban on the devices likely to come into effect.

In light of energy-saving efforts and environmental commitments, this seems a no-brainer. France has already implemented a national ban on heaters and it seems probable that Belgium will follow suit. But some within the sector point to the investments they made just recently so that they could serve people outdoors during the pandemic.

Was their investment wasted? And will the throngs that used to congregate beneath these showers of warmth decide this winter to stay indoors? Many Brussels venues lack the floor space to bring all their clientele inside.

How about you? Will you be vying for that seat by the bar or simply accept the chill? Let @Orlando_tbt know.

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