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Giving away public spaces of the city to outdoor cafes

Why do we need this?

The majority of businesses were hit hard by quarantine. Restaurants and cafes will not be able to open for a while, so now they have two ways to generate income and retain jobs: by offering food takeout services and operating as outdoor cafes. However, under quarantine rules, many popular outdoor cafes cannot operate due to insufficient distances to buildings or walkways, while some restaurants are not able to set up outdoor cafes. Therefore, the city of Vilnius has offered urgent help, giving away public spaces of the city (plazas, squares and closed streets) to outdoor cafes. No fees, a prompt approval of permits, and even those, who have not had outdoor cafes, will be able to have them now.

What we ask of residents of Vilnius:

This pandemic has created an extraordinary situation, and we all have to take extra effort and be more understanding. “Lending” spaces of the city to outdoor cafes can create temporary inconveniences for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. But let’s be forgiving at this time so that Vilnius opens up alive after quarantine instead of staying with shutters closed.

Who will be able to apply for these places?

All restaurants and cafes located close to plazas and squares can ask for a permission to set up their tables in there. Ensuring that safe distances are maintained, quarantine rules are observed and that customers are served hot food will be most important.

What are the rules of operation of outdoor cafes during quarantine?

Key restrictions:

Two people (or one family) at a table only.

A distance of 1 meter shall be maintained between tables and walkways, windows of residential buildings, entrances to stairways or yards.

A distance of 2 meters shall be maintained between customers sitting at tables.

Where does Vilnius invite to set up outdoor cafes?

Each restaurant or cafe can offer its own place, which complies with the rules and is in the territory of the city (or in a private territory, having obtained an owner’s consent), and the City of Vilnius will promptly issue permits for outdoor cafes free of charge.

An initial map of the places which the city has opened for outdoor cafes this season is available at the bottom of the page, and this applies not only to the Old Town, but to the ENTIRE city as well – ensuring safety and refraining from interfering with traffic is all what matters.

What should be done to get such a place:

  1. Find a place suitable for outdoor tables around your restaurant or café. If you plan to sell alcoholic beverages, find a place at a distance of 40 meters.
  2. E-mail the City of Vilnius by 29 April (the sooner you do this, the better) at indicating:
    1. the name and address of the restaurant;
    2. the desired place for an outdoor café;
    3. the desired number of tables;
    4. whether or not you plan on selling alcoholic beverages;
    5. your contact details.
  3. The City will collect information on all the applicants, distribute public spaces for outdoor cafes and contact you regarding a permit.
  4. Get started!
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