The restriction of restaurant gardens in the heart of Prague has been talked about for about two years. The topic subsided due to the pandemic, but returned. At the time when it began to disintegrate, parts of the restorers in the Old Town are coming from the city management to resign or make proposals to amend the contracts for the use of front gardens.
“Prague 1 has limited the space of the garden in the restaurant in Na Příkopě Street. About half of the ten tables remained, which surprised us, “says Eva Balážová, manager of the TGI Friday’s network of American restaurants.
The city is trying to cultivate the most exposed tourist places in metropolises. It has the so-called Royal Route, which stretches from the Powder Gate at Republic Square to Prague Castle, as well as the so-called Hradební korzo, formed by Národní, 28. října, Na Příkopě and Revoluční streets.
Fifty restaurants on the fly
According to the new Front Garden Location Concept, approved by the city council on May 3, hundreds of thousands of people passed through the city center in 2019 every day, and the appearance of restaurant front gardens is essential. They protrude a lot somewhere, are inappropriately located, obsolete, or are not suitable for development.
For example, new front gardens, with a few exceptions, may not be attached to landings, should not use free-standing mobile awnings, and should not stand at pedestrian crossings or corners. And they should also fulfill the ideas of Prague councilors in terms of size.
Therefore, parts of the gastronomes in the center will be canceled or reduced by the city gardens. Terminations with a three-month deadline concern twenty entrepreneurs in the center, another 31 will have to reduce or stop the garden.
“Contracts are not terminated without compensation, because the city will come up with an alternative offer. In these few cases, we want to conclude new lease agreements with modified conditions, for example in the form of a photograph to remove the front garden for the night or to change its area, “said spokesman Vít Hofman.
He added that the city supports restaurateurs, they did not have to pay for the front gardens last year and this year. According to information from SZ Byznys, the city collected about 120 crowns a day from each square meter of the garden on the Old Town Square in front of the covid.
But restaurateurs are angry. The pandemic has most negatively affected services in the capital, which are heavily dependent on tourism revenues. “It simply came to our notice then. For our business, it is liquidation, we do not have delivery or a dispensing window, “responded Ladislav Zahálka, manager of the restaurants El Torro Negro and Oliva Verde on the Old Town Square. He had not yet received his statements, but he was waiting for them at any moment.
Last year, the companies they manage became cheaper and changed the concept to attract at least some Czech guests. The competition was similarly maintained. For most Czechs, however, restaurants in the center of the metropolis are expensive, because they have to reflect high costs in prices, especially hundreds of thousands of monthly rents.
Restaurants run by Zahálka will have to reduce their gardens to a width of four meters to make the current eight meters longer from the house. “Aesthetics? It’s only been a few years since we complied with the conservationists and completely stopped the gardens for hundreds of thousands of crowns. Now it will be different again, “he added.
Away from the nineties. But not by revolution
Even the politicians in the management of Prague are not united in their opinion. “At the moment, the Commission of Trade and Services is meeting in Prague 1, which comments on the decision of the Capital City of Prague, where we are not in agreement with the proposed wording and consider it bad for entrepreneurs at this time,” said Karel Grabein, Prague 1 councilor.
There are about 2,500 restaurants in Prague 1 and only about five hundred of them operate a garden. On the contrary, the Czech Chamber of Commerce is trying to negotiate more favorable conditions with the city so that there can be more gardens, even if there are a few tables and chairs on the sidewalk.
“To some extent, we agree with the greater aestheticization of gardens, which are often due to the 90s of the twentieth century. After the outflow of tourists, many remained as dead whales on the waterfront, “says Filip Dvořák, chairman of the Economic Policy Section of the Chamber of Commerce and former mayor of Prague 1. However, he does not like the leadership of the city through revolution, not evolution.
“It started with the claim that tourists will not walk on the sidewalk. This reason is gone for about two or three years. The second reason was that the gardens are ugly. But there is no need to change them from minutes to minutes. Prague says it helps, but then someone gets fired and watches how crazy they are when they try to ruin their business, “added Dvořák.