City of Cape Town introduces outdoor seating initiative to assist restaurants!
Photo Cred: City of Cape Town | Café Frank

The “tables and chairs” initiative is the first intervention by the City of Cape Town and is aimed specifically at helping restaurants and eateries who were impacted by lockdown!


Cape Town, South Africa (15 November 2020) – Local restaurateurs are excited about the City of Cape Town’s initiative to reduce the rental rate of outdoor seating over the next six months as the planned café-style vibe in the CBD will promote business, while observing much needed Covid-19 protocols.

The recently announced “tables and chairs” initiative is the first intervention by the City and is aimed specifically at restaurants and eateries across the Cape Metropole. CBD applications will be prioritised as the City recognises the vital role of the commercial centre.

Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, believes “urgent intervention is required to address the issues facing the CBD and other commercial areas around Cape Town” and “practical solutions are needed to support businesses, stakeholders and residents”.

The “tables and chairs” initiative has been welcomed by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) – which has just launched a comprehensive, wide-reaching campaign called “Come Back To Town” aimed at boosting the CBD economy – as it will be a much-needed step towards revitalising the CBD’s economy and driving business back into the Central City.

Says Tasso Evangelinos, CEO of the CCID: “We are excited about the impetus this initiative will give to our broader economic recovery plans for the CBD. As we head into the warmer weather with the annual summer break about a month away, this will help our eateries start to recover from the challenges of lockdown.”

To facilitate the process and fast-track permissions, the CCID has distributed hard copies of the application form to over 170 stakeholders throughout the CBD.

Eatery owners have expressed their excitement and indicate that they plan to make use of the outdoor seating initiative.

“This is absolutely brilliant. It’s a great opportunity for guests to sit outside and enjoy the gorgeous views and the hustle and bustle of the city,” says the team at The Athletic Club & Social in Buitengracht Street.

Neil Swart, co-owner and chef at Belly of the Beast in Harrington Street, says the initiative is “a great idea” for CBD establishments.

City of Cape Town introduces outdoor seating initiative to assist restaurants!
Photo Cred: City of Cape Town | Café Frank

He believes that, with summer around the corner, it will have a domino effect.

“When people see patrons eating and drinking outside, it will encourage them to return to the city centre. We really need to bring the vibe back to town.”

Owner of local Bree Street favourite Café Frank, Debbie Wynne, agrees it is “the start of good things for the Central City”.

She has erected a so-called “parklet” outside Café Frank, offering an urban oasis for patrons.

“I look out over our parklet and down fever tree-lined Bree Street and can imagine how fabulous it would be to close the street for outdoor music events or markets on the weekends; creating a space that is welcoming, safe, clean and hygienic.”

Alderman Vos says the City of Cape Town, together with key partners like the CCID, is committed to reanimating our beautiful city.

“It is important that our collaborative efforts form one part of the broader ecosystem; we also rely on input from local businesses and City residents to find the best ways to help our businesses bounce back,” he says.

“The option to rent the sidewalk is the first of many interventions aimed at assisting the revitalisation of the CBD. I look forward to announcing further actions to be taken to reinvigorate the CBD and other commercial centres around the city in the coming months,” says Vos.

Retailers that apply for the reduced rate will receive a rental holiday for three months. In addition, rental for the remainder of the financial year to July 2021 will be reduced by 50 % from R80 per square metre to R40 per square metre. For those who already have a lease agreement in place, the City has encouraged eateries to also apply for the rental remission. The City will offer full remission for the lockdown period during which they were unable to operate.

*Applications are currently available for download from the Invest Cape Town website.

*Stakeholders are encouraged to submit joint applications so that they can be processed together, and the cost of the application can be shared.

Sources: City of Cape Town | Outdoor Seating Initiative
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