Expanded terraces in cities may remain for the time being

Last June we were in the situation that catering was allowed to open partially again. Entrepreneurs were allowed to receive more guests on their terraces than inside. But under two conditions: everyone had to sit at a table and people had to keep one and a half meters away from each other.

The result: more space was needed on the terraces. Many municipalities therefore offered entrepreneurs that space to temporarily expand their terrace. An opportunity that was seized with both hands. Trade magazine Misset Horeca conducted a poll among entrepreneurs, which showed that 70 percent of terrace entrepreneurs expanded their terrace last year. Also cafĂ© ‘t Taphuys in Arnhem, although not everyone is equally happy with it, as can be seen in this video:

Now we are in a new situation: the one and a half meters is no longer leading. A tour of RTL Nieuws shows that in general the rules for the extensive terraces are being extended for the time being. How long varies by municipality.

In some municipalities this will be the case until the end of the year. In yet other places it has already been decided that the expansion will also apply for part of next year. The overview:

  • Tilburg: Extension until November 1
  • Utrecht: Extension until November 1
  • Rotterdam: Extension until January 1, 2022
  • Nijmegen: Extension until January 1, 2022
  • Almere: Extension until January 1, 2022
  • Arnhem: Extension until January 1, 2022
  • Amsterdam: Extension until March 1, 2022
  • The Hague: Extension until May 1, 2022

Space in winter

The Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN) also sees that municipalities are thinking about options for expanding terraces. “In addition to (local) support measures, KHN wants municipalities to offer catering entrepreneurs more space to do business this winter, for example by expanding terraces,” says a spokesperson. “For the time being, we see that municipalities will also facilitate extra space for a certain period of time in the coming period. There are already commitments from various municipalities for this.”

KHN has not yet received any signals from regions where this applies indefinitely. The same applies to the reversal of commitments. “But turning back the one and a half meters does create a challenge here and there at a local level to get the widening done.”

In Arnhem, too, the expanded terraces can remain in place until the end of the year. Initially, the terrace permit applied there ‘until December 31, 2021 or until the 1.5 meter measures lapse’, can be read on the website of the municipality. But, the municipality now indicates, there are still corona measures in place and so the terrace permits remain valid. An evaluation will be carried out together with the entrepreneurs towards the end of the year.

Conversation with local residents

Erik Wiessenberg, chairman of the Arnhems Hart residents’ group, on the other hand, believes that the municipality should also discuss the extension of the terraces with residents. “We grant the catering industry everything and I understand that the catering industry wants to make up for the missed income, but we say: it’s give and take. Not all expanded terraces are used and make sure that parts of the city are less accessible.”

And in cities such as Maastricht and Utrecht, groups of residents do not agree with the extension, and in Arnhem and The Hague a case was even brought before the preliminary relief judge.

It is not yet clear in many places what the period will look like after the extension has expired. For example, a spokesperson for the municipality of Tilburg says that an inventory is being made of the wishes for the period after 1 November.

There are voices in several municipalities to make the extensive terraces permanent. For example, Eindhoven councilor Robin Verleisdonk asked council questions about a permanent expansion: “Look at the liveliness in the Eindhoven city center, through the expansion of various terraces.”

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