Coffee shops and restaurants in the capital can extend their terraces on the public highway to compensate for the operating losses linked to Covid. But sometimes things get out of hand.
Perhaps more than other professions, coffee restorers are the collateral victims of Covid-19. After more than two months of confinement, and to make up for the absence of tourists in the capital, the Paris City Council decided to implement a “support plan for economic actors”. Thus, from the deconfinement in mid-June 2020, coffee shops and restaurants were able to “extend the occupation of the public domain beyond the authorisations, provisionally and free of charge”. They also benefit from financial measures, namely a 50% reduction in road charges for the year 2020 and in commercial rents”.
Provisional and declarative
The system is provisional and purely declarative. All you have to do is create an account on “myparis.fr” and fill in a declaration. The cafe-restaurant owner will then receive a receipt.
In return, the operator must display and comply with a charter in which he undertakes, in particular, to respect the deconfinement protocol, limit noise pollution and operate the “ephemeral” terraces from 8am to 10pm. No later than that. It also undertakes to vacate the areas after 30 September.
Several thousand “ephemeral” terraces were quickly spread out on the Parisian pavements. Sometimes a little more widely than declared. Sometimes a little longer. Sometimes a little noisily, to the great displeasure of the local residents. But the town hall turned a blind eye: tens of thousands of jobs are at stake.
Tickets by the shovel
With one notable exception. Rue Montenotte, in the 17th arrondissement, the brasserie La Placette sees the arrival of the City of Paris police officers almost every day. They issue tickets for “unauthorised open terrace” or “installation of tables and chairs constituting terraces” etc.
The brewery has been operated since 2016 by the Mangel couple. On their arrival, they transformed their open terrace into a closed terrace with various accessories: giant barnum fixed to the ground, music … Without waiting for municipal authorizations.
Three years later (in 2019) the regularization of the closed terrace is refused. Beginning of January 2020: new requests for regularization of the closed terrace and the counter-terrace. Refused in March and July 2020. Hence the appeals before the administrative courts.
It is in this rather electric context that the Mangel couple installed, a week ago, a “ephemeral” terrace after having made the declaration of temporary installation. But the City of Paris is opposed to it. And sends its policemen to report up to two or three times a day!
A Landscape Designer
Finished? Not quite. This Tuesday, July 28, 2020, the owner of the brewery saw the arrival, not of policemen, as usual, but of a landscaper and public works machinery. Mission: plant a tree in the middle of the counter-terrace.
An inadmissible and legally questionable coup de force since the Mangel couple have not exhausted their legal recourse, and, especially since they have indeed declared with the assistance of their accountant who made a plan rated as usual the installation of their terrace and counter-terrace in accordance with the deliberation (No. 2020 SG 17) of the Council of Paris of 18 May 2020 on the “plan to support economic actors” of the capital.
Their lawyer, Philippe Meilhac, explains: “despite a very difficult financial period, my clients have made a lot of effort to comply with the standards, notably by removing the awning that protected the counter-terrace and all the accompanying equipment. They are meeting the commitments made in the framework of the provisional arrangements provided for by the City of Paris, which is not the case for everyone. Sufficient space is left for pedestrian traffic, the counter-terrace is removed every evening at 10 p.m., there is no noise nuisance. It is unlikely that they will be subjected to such a ruthless effort, and will take appropriate legal action if this situation continues”.
Editor’s note: We are awaiting the reaction of the City of Paris, which we have requested.