Restaurants in Prague won’t have to pay rent or local fees for outdoor seating on the street until the end of the year. Fees will also be waived for using public space for street sales in front of the establishment. The Prague Assembly across parties unanimously supported the proposal meant to help entrepreneurs to mitigate the economic impact of coronavirus restrictions.
“Restaurateurs and retailers are being hit hard by government measures, and after the medical crisis has eased, we have a great challenge to stimulate demand again. Therefore, until the end of the year we forgive fees and rent for front gardens and allow free operation in front of the establishment,” Prague Deputy Mayor for Finance Pavel Vyhnánek (Praha sobě) said.
“This will enable businesses to be closer to customers. With regard to the significant expected decline in tourism, we do not have to worry at the same time that the streets would be congested,” he added.
The proposal was submitted across party lines by Vít Šimral, Jan Chabr, Jiří Pospíšil, Tomáš Portlík and Radomír Nepil. The exemption of the local fee and rent will also apply to outdoor markets, including farmers markets.
Street sales in front of the establishment could be made possible for entrepreneurs as soon as emergency measures are relaxed. “Entrepreneurs will be able to place a stand, a table or a sales counter for free in front of the establishment. In the hospitality sector alone, the current measures will affect more than 40,000 workers, so the city must use any tools at its disposal to help. Reducing the fixed costs of establishments is one of the logical and economically most effective steps,” City Councilor Vít Šimral (Pirates), responsible for business support.
Prague waived the fee for the use of the public space worth approximately 107 million CZK, which will be the same amount in case of forgiveness of rent for the front gardens. The exemption from the local fee for front gardens is valid from March, 14, and rent will be forgiven for the entire month of March.
“This is another step to help entrepreneurs affected by the economic crisis. This measure is broadly applicable to all entrepreneurs, when the city waives rent for restaurant front gardens. The aim is to facilitate the start-up of a much-affected segment of the hospitality area. Of course, this is not a trivial step, if we take into account the financial impact, the rent and fee yields amounted to up to hundreds of millions of crowns,” City Councilor Jan Chabr (United Force for Prague), responsible for property.
At the same time, Prague is finalizing the administrative simplification and speeding up the process for starting to use pavement in front of the establishment so that entrepreneurs can report street sales by e-mail and do not have to wait for the authorities to process the application.
Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr (Praha sobě) is working on a solution. However, the restarting of street sales will include technical constraints, such as maintaining safe passage on the sidewalk, maintaining cleanliness, and the need to remove everything in the evening for road cleaning.
The rules for the placement of restaurant front gardens remain in force; unlike street sales in front of business premises, entrepreneurs will still be required to obtain a standard occupation permit. But the city is already working to speed up these processes.
Representatives also noted the forgiveness of the local residence fee, which in an emergency situation affected entrepreneurs providing accommodation under government exceptions in dormitories, spa facilities and school accommodation facilities. At the same time, the capital will forgive the local hotel fee until the end of 2020.