Vilnius provides a support package to restaurants and cafés: it offers city spaces as a gift and encourages the purchase of vouchers
In response to the problems of restaurants and cafés that have been closed during the quarantine and to the rules for the operation of outdoor cafés that were announced today by the Ministry of Health, during this season, the Vilnius Municipality opens all public spaces in the city to outdoor cafés. In addition, the project talonai.lt was launched. It will encourage Vilnius residents to support their favourite restaurants by purchasing their services for the future. These measures are expected to help businesses without which the capital would not feel alive to survive.
Under the rules announced today, outdoor cafés are only allowed to operate if they ensure a 1 m distance to pedestrian ways and a 2 m distance between customers sitting at different tables. Some restaurants, having considered the requirements, decided that under these conditions it would be impossible to put outdoor tables next to their premises, so they would not be able to operate during the quarantine.
“We understand the complexity of the situation: safe distances must be ensured, but the narrow streets of the Old Town of Vilnius are not suitable for this. Therefore, to save the restaurants, during this season we are giving city squares, courtyards and dead end streets to restaurants and cafés: put outdoor tables here, carry out activities, save jobs, and keep the city alive. The city will help you as much as possible,” said Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius.
The municipality published a map of 18 locations (www.karantinas.lt/gyvasvilnius), including the Town Hall Square, Vokiečių Street, Europa Square, Gediminas Avenue, K. Sirvydas Courtyard and other locations in the Old Town of Vilnius, where restaurants operating in the area would be able to establish their outdoor cafés. However, there might be more such locations in the city in the future.
The Vilnius City Municipality also undertook to take care of the newly launched project talonai.lt, which invites restaurants, cafés, and bars to register for free, while encouraging Vilnius residents to buy services from their favourite catering establishments now and using the vouchers later to prevent these businesses from failure during the most difficult period.
“I did this, too: I bought a service voucher of a favourite, but currently closed, bar. My team members and I will be happy to use the voucher as soon as the bar is allowed to operate under quarantine. I encourage others to do so, too: let us help businesses that make the city livelier survive,” R. Šimašius encourages.
Two other measures introduced by the municipality to support the operation of catering establishments are as follows: during this season, food trucks are allowed to operate throughout the city without obtaining permission separately, if there is a permit to operate in at least one eldership, while outdoor cafés are exempt from charges for 2020.
Another (the fifth) support measure will be announced by the municipality on Monday.
How the opening of city spaces will work:
Having selected the desired location from the list or chosen their own location where outdoor tables can be put safely, restaurants have to contact the municipality by email email@example.com by 29 April. Then, locations will be assigned to local outdoor cafés and permits will be promptly issued free of charge. This exception will be valid until the end of the season.
The full list of support measures offered by Vilnius to restaurants and cafés is available here: www.karantinas.lt/gyvasvilnius.
Support measures offered by Vilnius to residents and businesses are available at the following address: www.karantinas.lt/pagalba.
Regarding the project Talonai.lt, you can call its creator Mindaugas Guzas, CEO at Asteroid Mining Company: +370 609 87 099.