Amsterdam cafe terraces expanded during Covid must scale back from Oct. 31
Cafes in Amsterdam which were allowed to extend their outdoor patios during the coronavirus pandemic beyond their sidewalk allotments, often into the street, will soon have to reduce the outdoor spaces back to how they were before the pandemic. The city is giving cafe entrepreneurs until the close of business on October 31 to make the change, but some may be able to permanently keep the extensions in place, said Mayor Femke Halsema in a letter sent on Friday to the full city council.
By expanding the terraces, bar and restaurant owners were better able to seat patrons at a safe social distance while allowing them to serve a greater number of people. The city made this possible near the end of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in May 2020, and extended it four times over the following 26 months.
“By establishing the temporary policy, terraces were allowed in locations where this would not fit under normal circumstances, such as in parking spaces and on the water,” Halsema wrote. “The expansion was intended to somewhat compensate entrepreneurs for the losses during the lockdowns and to give Amsterdam residents sufficient opportunity to meet each other in the open air.”
The fact that it was quiet on the city’s streets and waterways made it possible to place terraces on bridges and in other locations where they would not normally be allowed, Halsema continued. However, now that people have largely returned to normal city life as coronavirus restrictions disappeared, the mayor and aldermen decided that terraces should return to being better and more carefully integrated into the neighborhoods.
Halsema said entrepreneurs may be able to apply to amend their operating license to make the expanded terraces permanent, “provided this does not cause any nuisance.” The districts of the city will first investigate what is the most reasonable way to pursue the adjusted policy, and then the business owners can file their applications. The permit application’s costs were not stated.