The expanded coronavirus terraces, which allowed bars and restaurant owners to accommodate clients on public areas like car parks over the summer, must be removed by 31 October in the City of Brussels.
Along with the reopening of the hospitality industry before the summer, bars and restaurants in Brussels could set up their terraces on parking places to allow greater distance between tables during the pandemic without a lot of paperwork for the businesses.
"Normally, this would be possible until the end of September, but because it was such a success, that deadline has now been extended until the end October," Adélaïde de Patoul, spokesperson for Brussels City alderman Fabian Maingain, told The Brussels Times.
With this decision, the City wants to continue to support Brussels bar and restaurant owners, who hope to benefit from milder weather in the early autumn.
By 31 October, the temporary terraces in the City of Brussels will have to make way for the traditional parking spaces again. But given the insecurity still faced by many in the hospitality sector, establishments will receive up to €2,000 compensation for removing their terraces.
Due to the success of the scheme, it will again be possible to apply for a permit to expand terraces between April and September 2022, according to a press release from Maingain's office.
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Terraces in the public space were "a very big hit" for the hospitality industry, for clients and also for the city, which benefited from the cosy atmosphere, according to Damiaan De Jonge, spokesperson for Brussels State Secretary for Urban Planning Pascal Smet.
Technically, the rule allowing the extended terraces is valid until the end of 2022, but the regulation refers to "seasonal terraces," which concerns the period between April and October, he told The Brussels Times.
"One of the conditions for expanding the terraces was that they were removable. But due to the current circumstances and the ongoing pandemic, we are now looking into a way to allow the expansion year-round," De Jonge added.
Sitting outside during the winter might be cold, but the city has seen that many clients and bar and restaurant owners have handled the inclement summer weather "very creatively" by providing blankets and heat lamps, or urging clients to bring sweaters.
"And besides the weather, the coronavirus has not gone away entirely either," he said. "We are working on a solution to keep the terraces throughout the whole year."