Brussels extends 'coronavirus terraces' until 15 January 2022

Brussels extends 'coronavirus terraces' until 15 January 2022
Photo from the office of Pascal Smet.

On Thursday, the Brussels Government approved a proposal by State Secretaries for Urbanism and Economic Transition Pascal Smet and Barbara Trachte to extend the temporary coronavirus terraces until 15 January 2022.

The initiative came into force on 1 April and allowed businesses to set up their terraces without having to obtain a permit until 31 October.

"1,000 'coronavirus terraces' made our city buzz again this summer after a difficult period. Normally, they would have had to be dismantled at the end of the month until next spring," Smet said in a press release.

"However, the response of the people of Brussels, as well as the hospitality industry, to our initiative has been so overwhelming that today we decided to extend this measure," he added.

Additionally, as the city is not yet rid of the coronavirus, the outside terraces could encourage people to still meet each other, but in safe circumstances.

"The fact that we are now using parking spaces as meeting places is making many people in Brussels think twice about using our public spaces," Smet said. "In a healthy city, it should not only be there to move around, but also meet, relax and enjoy."

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The extension of the measure will allow bars and restaurants to continue operating their temporary terraces and compensate for the difficulties that the sector has had to face in recent months, says Trachte.

"This decision has added value both to the economy and to the conviviality of our Region," she added.

After 15 January, however, the terraces must be dismantled. Only owners whose terraces meet the quality standards can apply to the municipality can keep them in place until the end of 2022.

The Federation of the Brussels hospitality industry called the extension "a result of good cooperation with the Secretary of State's team."

As bar and restaurant owners will now be able to use the terraces during the winter period, this will likely lead to a "Winter Terrace" in many places, says Chair of the Federation, Fabian Hermans.

"Our customers will be very happy with that," he added.

The conditions for installing a terrace without a permit remain unchanged, except for the timing, meaning that a free passage of at least 1.5 metres must be provided each time.

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