Vilnius will help the catering industry that finds itself in a difficult situation due to the pandemic: a plan consisting of ten points was presented. Today the City Council approved the essential points: financial support without imposing charges for outdoor terraces, and compensations for the rent of municipal premises. This is a chance to promote faster recovery of the industry after the quarantine, to avoid business bankruptcies, and to help to safeguard jobs and activities in the city.
In addition to these financial measures, just like last year, great attention is paid to the use of public urban spaces for the operation of outdoor cafés. All the previous spaces in the Old Town have been assigned to this purpose, and new additional spaces are being sought because there is enormous interest in the industry.
“Last year, freedom granted to outdoor cafés in Vilnius inspired businesses and spread throughout the world, so this year we continue by offering new support measures. We understand that the municipality holds only a small part of the possibilities of the state’s involvement in the rescue of the industry, but in this difficult pandemic situation every aid measure is important,” said Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius.
Discussions about which streets of the Old Town should be closed this summer and assigned to pedestrians and outdoor cafés are in progress; last year, there were four such streets, and this year the number will likely be similar. Food trucks are given the same freedom as last year: they will be able to trade throughout the city, except for the Old Town.
Vilnius will also give aid to restaurants and cafés by extending their rent contracts for the corresponding quarantine period (no more than ten years). The Council of Vilnius City Municipality also reduced real estate and land taxes imposed on mass caterers (cafés, restaurants, bars) by 25% at the beginning of March 2021. Implementation of the idea of the immunity passport, which was introduced a week ago by the Mayor of Vilnius, could also become real aid to the catering industry.
During yesterday’s meeting of the municipality and restaurant representatives, it was agreed that Vilnius would appeal to the Government asking to speed up the granting of compensations to this industry. The possibility of creating new projects that would promote faster recovery of the industry after the quarantine was discussed as well.
Vilnius City Municipality will contribute almost EUR 1.2 million to the implementation of all these measures.