Vilnius Spilling into Streets

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

The Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is designating all public spaces as open air cafés.


The Lithuanian capital of Vilnius is supporting its vibrant café and restaurant culture through the crisis by designating all public spaces as open air cafés, allowing restaurants to open and serve customers while observing physical distancing guidelines.


The Baltic nation is staging a tiered exit from its lockdown by allowing restaurants with outdoor seating, hair salons, and most small retail stores to reopen.


Social distancing is still in full effect, but that’s no problem for the intrepid restauranteurs, baristas, and bar owners in Vilnius’ old town of Senamiestis, because they can place their tables as far apart as they care to do, utilizing the narrow streets and small plazas.


“Plazas, squares, streets… Nearby cafes will be allowed to set up outdoor tables free of charge this season and thus conduct their activities during quarantine,” said Remigijus Šimašius, the mayor of the charming town of Vilnius, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


According to The Guardian, over 160 restaurant, café, and bar owners have signed up for the programme that has opened 18 spacious public areas for outdoor seating, promising to add more spaces to the list as the summer progresses and the exit from the lockdown continues.


“It came just in time,” Evalda Šiškauskienė of the Lithuanian Association of Hotels and Restaurants told The Guardian, who added that it would help “accommodate more visitors and bring life back to the city streets, but without violating security requirements.”


Another ray of good news sunshine in Vilnius came when public health workers were recently rewarded with food and drink vouchers for city restaurants (€400,000 in total) as a gesture of gratitude for their hard work and public service in the face of COVID-19.


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