Lithuania’s capital Vilnius’ post lockdown plans could help bring the city’s COVID-19-hit hospitality industry back on track. By Tanvi Jain

 

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Lithuania’s capital Vilnius has decided to turn most of the city into a big open-air café, by giving over streets and public spaces to bars and restaurants, so that they can operate while maintaining social distancing. 

Vilnius’ Mayor recently listed 18 of the city’s public spaces that can be offered for this initiative, and according to reports, soon after the announcement, as many as 160 business owners already applied for it. Lithuanian Association of Hotels and Restaurants also lauded the move on their Facebook page. 

 

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Shops, hairdressers and beauty parlours, libraries, museums and cafés, are some of the business that has been allowed to operate. However, they will have to follow the guidelines set by the health ministry, which include limiting the number of customers, compulsory masks in all public spaces, and tables at cafes and restaurants to be at least two metres apart from each other. 

However, for Vilnius old town and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site — Senamiestis – the problem of social distancing still prevails due to its narrow streets, which can accommodate only a few tables with apt distancing.  

The capital city’s authorities have also reportedly offered approximately INR 3 crore worth of restaurant and café vouchers to the city’s medical staff on the occasion of National Day of Medical Workers, which can be used anywhere across the city.  

 

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The Lithuanian Government has allowed trading to commence at venues in marketplaces and other public places, keeping in mind that only one buyer is served at a time, and all hygiene protocols are strictly followed. Moreover, leisure activities, which were earlier limited only to golf and outdoor tennis courts, outdoor shooting ranges, karting tracks, water board parks, will now be allowed in open spacesrun by individuals, groups of up to two, and families, but with no gatherings.

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