All public spaces in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius have been designated as open air cafés to support its vibrant café and restaurant culture through the coronavirus pandemic. This will allow the outlets to operate safely and serve their customers while observing physical distancing guidelines.
The Baltic nation has fared well through the pandemic, with just over 1,000 confirmed cases and 44 deaths due to the virus. The country is now going through a staged exit from its lockdown, while still respecting social distancing.
As restaurants and coffee shops have started to open again, intrepid restauranteurs, baristas, and bar owners in Vilnius’ old town of Senamiestis, are being allowed to space out their tables in the narrow streets and small plazas, so that people can feel comfortable while respecting the norms of social distancing.
“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 this charming town, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Over 150 eateries have applied to participate in the programme, through which 18 spacious public areas for outdoor seating have been made available through the summer months, as they continue to ease out of the lockdown.
“It came just in time,” said Evalda Šiškauskienė of the Lithuanian Association of Hotels and Restaurants, adding that it would help “accommodate more visitors and bring life back to the city streets, but without violating security requirements.”