Rome extends the availability of outdoor restaurant tables

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Rome needs to rethink outdoor dining tables

To meet the needs of restaurateurs, surfaces, umbrellas and chairs have invaded meters and meters of public space, changing the face of the city.

In some cases, restaurants have tripled their outdoor space, occupying extraordinary locations. But they were meant to be only a temporary solution, linked to the state of emergency. What happens now that the state of health emergency is over?

What is the situation facing the people of Rome?

The only thing we know for sure right now is that they will stay as they are today, at least until the end of the year.

These are the outdoor tables granted to all the premises that administer food and drink, integrated as a tool to fight the crisis and, quickly, transformed into a kind of casbah without rules or with rules definitely not respected.

They occupied the sides of the roads, often legally taking away parking spaces. We see them made from wooden pallets, wrought iron, more or less decorated and more or less basic.

For the restaurant industry, they were instrumental in restarting the system after the 2020 quarantine-related shutdown. But now they are demanding discipline: the health emergency is over, the economic emergency and commercial is not yet.

Yesterday afternoon, the adviser for productive activities, Monica Lucarelli, and that for mobility, Eugenio Patané, met at the Ministry of Commerce. The Capitol Superintendency and the general commander of the local police were at the table. Representatives of the Ministry of Culture and the President of the Commercial Commission were also present, as well as various professional associations.

However, we are still in the preliminary scuffles. A new operational meeting is scheduled to start developing a concrete plan, after Easter of course. For the moment, one certainty is that the current concessions will be extended until the end of the year, with what the Commerce Department defines as a bridging measure.

How will the rules change for outdoor seating?

Photo credit: Boris-B / Shutterstock.com

The declared objective, however, is to regulate the whole system. This means standardizing the types of furniture in terms of materials to be used and colors.

In short, stop at the melting pot made of plastic curtains covering planks of wood or wrought iron. The Capitol Superintendency was present at the table for this reason, and will have to dictate the aesthetic elements to be included in the new outdoor spaces.

Then there’s the problem of all problems: the size and regulation of outdoor seating.

Even before the pandemic, the Roman chronicles were abundantly fueled by the blitzes of traffic cops who seized tables and chairs from pizzerias and restaurants. The next day, the restaurants put them back on the street, so that, by dint of seizing them, the depots of the local police have filled up several times.

The idea that hovers around the Department is to provide each outdoor space with a QR code – this small square made up of black modules arranged in a white pattern – which would immediately provide regulators with all the necessary information.

Only, in addition to creating this code, it is also necessary to make it readable on handheld computers and mobile phones of the Municipal Police.

What will happen to the streets of Rome?

The third problem to be faced by the end of the year will be that of reviewing the classification of certain roads today considered highly viable and therefore subject to certain limitations in the concession of spaces for the creation of terraces. .

Councilor Lucarelli explains: “To get the green light from the Council, it is necessary to address some key issues. Among these, it is important to highlight the solution requested by Councilor Patanè to revise certain points of the General Urban Traffic Plan. and to downgrade certain roads that are currently part of the main road network, and therefore not subject to the installation of outdoor platforms and tables, to ordinary road networks.

I have asked the associations to provide me with a detailed list of the streets that will have to change classification, so that we can carry out rapid and targeted works carried out by professionals”.

Photo credit: Daniele COSSU / Shutterstock.com

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