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Brief Published: 20 May 2020

Vilnius Becomes a City-Wide Open-Air Café


As lockdowns are lifted across the globe, and cafés and restaurants resume trading, many are forced to find new ways to adhere to social-distancing rules while still turning a profit. In answer to this predicament, Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, has pledged to allow hard-hit restaurant and café businesses to spread their tables out across eighteen of the city’s parks and plazas, with more to be added during the summer season.

As lockdowns are lifted in the small European city, strict social-distancing measures mean that restaurant tables must be positioned at least two metres apart from each other – a challenging task for small restaurants in the city’s old town, whose narrow alleyways make it impossible for many establishments to place more than one or two tables outside.

Additionally, Vilnius city council has gifted the country’s public health workers €400,000 ($433,719) worth of vouchers to spend at cafés and restaurants in Vilnius, both to thank them for their hard work and to provide a financial stimulus for the beleaguered hospitality businesses.

The dining industry will be forever altered by the Covid-19 pandemic, with lasting enforced standards regarding social distancing and hygiene. This government-led initiative will go some way to help restaurateurs in the city to reopen and remain afloat. 

The city has also temporarily transformed its airport car park into a drive-in cinema in conjunction with the Vilnius International Film Festival

For more on how dining establishments around the world are remodelling themselves, read Covid-19: The Dining Industry Pivots and Resetting the Food System: The Covid-19 Strategy Summit.

Read also Sweden Offers Country-Wide DIY Wilderness Dining for an earlier example of this type of thinking.