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Belgium in Brief: What Is A Terrace?

Credit: Belga/Pixabay

When I say the word terrace, what do you think of?

Definitions differ in wording, but they fundamentally agree that it should be “a level paved area next to a building; a patio.”

Houses have them, many HoReCa establishments too, but now that the next stage of Belgium’s deconfinement plan is hanging on the use of terraces… what about the places that never had one before?

Can they just decide they have a terrace?

According to the City of Brussels, a terrace is “the part of the public road in the frontal extension of the façade of a hospitality establishment that is occupied by furniture (tables, chairs, parasols, standing tables, etc.) intended to receive customers of a hospitality establishment for on-site consumption.”

That’s a relatively open brief. Can a terrace-less bar put a chair on the side of the road and apply for a licence? A standing table? A bench? A particularly large windowsill?

According to the official document, “only those establishments listed in the Ordinance on the operation of a hospitality establishment on the territory of the City of Brussels may submit an application for an annual or seasonal terrace,” so they at least CAN apply.

This application must include:

– the certificate of conformity for the HoReCa industry issued by the City of Brussels;
– The completed permit application form;
– Photographs of the location and of the proposed installation or a simulation;
– A copy of the articles of association (if the business is run by a legal entity) and of the operator’s identity card.

But it still doesn’t really qualify how basic a terrace can be. What’s the minimum here? This is something that could be a lifeline to the sector, but it just feels a little vague.

Do you know more? Do you run a café and have a plan? Let me know – @johnstonjules /j.johnston@brusselstimes.com

AND continuing my call from yesterday, this week I’m looking for the best coffee in Brussels & beyond. Message me your favourite spot for better times.

BUT WAIT, one last thing: Want news from The Brussels Times in your inbox every morning? Sign up for The Recap, a free daily newsletter containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee. 

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:



1. Dozens need third Pfizer vaccination after receiving too-low first dose

58 people who were vaccinated in the Den Amer vaccination centre in the Flemish town of Diest on Saturday 10 April, received a too low first dose of the Pfizer vaccine due to a human error, meaning they will need an extra shot.

The staff responsible at the centre noticed the problem after one of the many quality checks, according to Ivo Deckers, vice-president of the first-line zone Demerland, which the centre is part of. Read more.

2. Belgium will discuss how to reopen hospitality sector on Friday

Belgium’s Consultative Committee will meet on Friday to discuss rules and arrangements on how to reopen the hospitality industry from 8 May and set a framework for the culture and event sector.

A bit over a week after the previous Committee, the authorities will meet on Friday 23 April to look into gradually restarting the culture and events sector and the sports sector, as Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon announced. Read more.

3. EMA to announce evaluation of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine today

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will announce its conclusion on the safety of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) coronavirus vaccine in relation to reported unusual cases of thrombosis.

This last week, PRAC (EMA’s safety committee) was reviewing the very rare cases of unusual blood clots that occurred in the US following the use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, and it is expected to announce its decision during a press conference at 5:00 PM on Tuesday. Read More.

4. Fake job applications should help map discrimination in Belgian labour market

The Flemish government will use fake job applications to better understand the extent of discriminations within the labour market of 33 sectors, the Flemish Minister of Employment Hilde Crevits said on Tuesday.

The scheme using fake applications, which will involve nearly 1.9 million employees in the hospitality and graphics sector, among others, was proposed by three labour market experts as an academic monitoring system to better understand Belgium’s discrimination problem. Read more.

5. Wife of Belgian ambassador to South Korea accused of slapping shop assistant

The wife of Peter Lescouhier, the Belgian Ambassador to South Korea, is under investigation by local police after being accused of assaulting a shop assistant from a clothing store in the capital Seoul.

The city’s Yongsan Police Station is investigating allegations that the woman, Xiang Xueqiu, slapped the assistant in the face at a Seoul shop on 9 April this year, according to reports from The Korea Times. Read More.

6. Press freedom in Belgium remains ‘source of concern’, Reporters without Borders says

The situations of journalists and press freedom in Belgium remains a source of concern according to the non-profit organisation Reporters without Borders (RSF), which cited a growing awareness of abuse of journalists.

Some politicians continue to show concern about press freedom in the country, RSF said in its World Press Freedom Index, which it published on Tuesday and in which Belgium is ranked in 11th place out of 180 countries, up by one place from the year before. Read More.

7. Belgium on track for coldest April in 35 years as average temperatures drop by 6°C

April started with unexpected snowfall, and these low temperatures persisted throughout the month, which could result in this month being the coldest April in 35 years in Belgium.

Last year, the average temperature in April was 12.6°C and the average maximum temperate in Belgium was 18.3°C, according to the Royal Meteorological Institute (KMI). Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times