OPSI COVID-19 Innovative Response Tracker

Vilnius opens up public spaces for restaurants and cafes

Innovative response

Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, has announced plans to give over public space to hard-hit bar and restaurant owners so that they can put tables outdoors to observe physical distancing laws but continue to serve customers.

Specific issues addressed and anticipated impact

In Lithuania, shops must limit the number of customers at one time, masks will remain mandatory in all public spaces, and cafe and restaurant tables have to be placed at least two metres apart.

That posed a problem for many restaurateurs in Vilnius old town, Senamiestis, a Unesco-listed world heritage site whose narrow streets make it almost impossible to place more than a couple of tables outside.

Eighteen of the city’s public spaces, including its central Cathedral Square, have been opened up for outdoor cafes and restaurants, city hall said, and more are expected to be added as the summer progresses. The move has been welcomed by owners, with more than 160 applying to take up the offer.

Organisations/institutions involved

Vilnius City

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Issues being addressed:

  • Governance responses
  • Social effects of the crisis