The battle of the dehors is played on centimeters: 2,500 structures at risk

Ten centimeters. The survival, or the disappearance, of the more than two thousand 500 dehors in the city, between the “ordinary” ones and those that appeared in emergency during the pandemic, depends on this measure. To allow restaurants and clubs to respect the anti-Covid distances and guarantee a sufficient number of seats to keep the activities going, the Municipality had given an almost indiscriminate green light but now that the pre-Covid regulation is about to return into force between the blue stripes and the perimeter of the outdoor areas must be ten centimeters apart.

The regulation had entered into force in February 2020 and was then amended by the new council in March, which simplified the procedures for requesting and obtaining authorizations. In fact, however, up to now it has never been applied because, precisely in the days in which clubs and restaurants should have come into compliance, the lockdown was triggered.

In the following months, the 1,430 authorized in the name of the health emergency were added to the historic verandas. Now that regulation is topical again. Yesterday the councilor for commerce Paolo Chiavarino summoned traders and restaurateurs to discuss its application. In fact, until June 30, the structures set up for the pandemic can remain free. After that, as long as public land is paid. The next deadline for compliance is now October 1st, but those ten centimeters disturb the sleep of many managers. “If that limit remains, I am forced to dismantle the structure and give up the external space”, a restaurant owner in the center cuts short. And baristas and managers think like him too, who in recent months have placed tables and chairs on pavements and stately squares.

Another passage of the regulation requires that a maximum of 30 percent of squares and sidewalks can be converted to outdoor space of the premises. “In the courtly squares of the center it would mean giving up a third of the space”, explains Fulvio Griffa, provincial president of Fiepet, the federation of public businesses of Confesercenti according to which reducing the space allocated to dehors also means forcing entrepreneurs to cut staff.

“We have opened a close confrontation with the municipal administration – explains Griffa – the deadline of 1 July is no more and we have time to face the many problems of that regulation that seems to be done on purpose to prevent the premises from setting up the dehors” . Chiavarino confirms his availability for dialogue. «In the next few days Epat and Fiepet will send us proposals and evaluations – explains the commissioner -. We have foreseen an inspection to be done in October, but if particular critical issues emerge in these weeks, we are ready to anticipate some changes. The path has just begun, but there is the will to find shared solutions, even if the Municipality will have the last word ».

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