Belgium in Brief: What Is A Terrace?

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 /

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.

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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:

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Jules Johnston

The Brussels Times

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