Terraces gain more permanent space in roadsThe by-law on terraces is updated to adapt the regulations and consolidate the temporary terraces set up to help bars and restaurants because of the pandemic. The changes are aimed at improving the organisation of public space, guaranteeing safe and accessible use and facilitating the operation of the restaurant sector, preserving traditional small businesses.
The amendment to the by-law consists of some one-off changes to adapt the regulations and consolidate terraces which were set up in roads (in rows of parking spaces, traffic lanes and on street corners) as part of the special measures to help this sector address the Covid-19 health crisis.
Since then, over 3,600 permits have been issued for terraces on road surfaces and exceptional extensions which have saved at least 1,875 jobs, according to a study by the University of Barcelona. These special operating licences expire on 31 December but will be automatically renewed for two months. Bars and restaurants will have until 28 February to apply for them to continue. If there is no request, the establishment will be considered as having renounced the terrace and it will be removed.
Continuity of terraces will require a technical endorsement and compliance with the criteria in the by-law in terms of distances, accessibility, guarantees on space for local residents to circulate etc. One new change is that terraces must have obligatory authorised furniture: a safe and accessible platform where tables and chairs can be placed, allowing for blocks of concrete to be removed for good. The installation of new platforms will gradually be implemented according to demand from establishments.
As a way of incentivising the change, up to four million euros is being earmarked for subsidies for the installation of platforms, with funding to cover up to a maximum of 50% of their cost.
The ultimate goal of the change to the regulations is to foster a better organisation of public space, guaranteeing safe and accessible use and providing support for the restaurant sector, preserving traditional small businesses.
The full council meeting of 23 December gave its final approval with votes from the municipal government, BCN Canvi and the independent councillor, Marilén Barceló, with JxCat, Cs and the PP abstaining. This means the changes come into effect from 1 January, adapting the regulation to consolidate special terraces. By the summer of 2022, all new terraces approved are expected to have obligatory authorised furniture.