Bern to become ‘open air bar’ in summer to beat coronavirus restrictions

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Bern to become ‘open air bar’ in summer to beat coronavirus restrictions
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The Swiss capital of Bern has laid out an ambitious plan to ensure a lively summer, all while complying with social distancing restrictions.


Taking a leaf out of the book of Lithuanian capital Vilnius, Bern plans to open up public space to bars and cafes throughout summer. 

Cafes and bars will be allowed to place their tables in squares, places and open spaces throughout the city during the summer. 

READ: Switzerland rolls back coronavirus lockdown earlier than expected

Bars and restaurants may reopen from May 11th, provided they comply with stringent social distancing requirements. 

The additional space will allow the venues to comply with social distancing requirements put in place to curb the transmission of the coronavirus. 

The move is likely to be welcomed by both the venues and their customers, particularly as the city has indicated it will not charge the businesses anything for using the public space. 


Reto Nause, City of Bern Security Director, told Watson “We plan to enlarge the space for the outside seating in the restaurants. And that without additional costs for the restaurateurs.”

Nause said he hoped the move would prevent bankruptcies and would reinvigorate the sector.

Tom Berger, Vice President of the Buck Bar and Club Commission, said such a plan would be a great way for cafes and bars to recoup lost earnings due to months of forced closures. 

“If restaurateurs offer an additional offer in open spaces, distance rules can be observed. On the other hand, additional money can be earned, which will be sorely missing after the cancellation of major events like the European Championship”. 

Nause said a number of pop-up bars had already been approved for the summer and called upon bar owners to provide the city with their own creative and novel ideas. 

While footpaths and other public spaces would need to be kept free, the city indicated they were open to any ideas which would contribute to the ‘Mediterraneanisation’ of the city during summer. 



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