Street terraces are taking over the street of Brussels for good, Source: Depositphotos

Brussels wants to keep street terraces instead of parking spots

Brussels wants to keep street terraces instead of parking spots

The Covid-born measure allowing restaurants and cafes to retake on-street parking spots will live on in the Belgian capital

Last week, authorities in the Brussels Capital Region decided that outdoor terraces set up by cafes, bars and restaurants on street parking spaces will stay in place until at least September 2024. Initially, the catering industry received relaxed rules for outdoor seating as an aid measure due to the pandemic.

The terraces were originally planned as a band-aid measure to reduce indoor capacity in the catering industry during the pandemic. Thus, restaurants set up installations hastily right on the street – in street parking spots.

Now, as the policy that made it happen is about to end, local authorities have opted for an extension as the terraces have proven invaluable for business and creating vibrant urban street communities reclaimed from cars.

The original regulation

In August 2021, local authorities lifted all planning and permitting requirements for outdoor terraces, as long as the installations were temporary and permitted sidewalk space of 1.5 metres. Additionally, the terraces were supposed to be seasonal, between 1 April and 31 October, could only be set up on parking spaces and needed to be under 50 square metres.

The measure helped the catering industry keep up with demand while increasing venues' capacity, during a period of Covid-measures, when indoor space was heavily restricted. However, more than a year and a half later, terraces have become a sort of staple to Brussels, both for citizens and businesses and a feature many would rather keep having.

Street terraces and what they bring to the table

The decision to extend the street terrace policy came last Thursday and will be in force at least until September 2024, when the new Regional Planning Regulations (RRU) are set to kick in. At the same time, the RRU can see a more permanent version of the policy.

With the policy originally set to expire at the end of December, local authorities rushed the decision to give business owners clear deadlines. According to State Secretary for Urbanism, Pascal Smet, who was quoted by the RTBF, terraces have become an important source of income and a major feature of the catering industry.

Moreover, he explained that terraces located in place of street parking have increased the vitality of urban quarters and have given city space back to inhabitants rather than cars. State Secretary Smet also pointed out that street terraces have reduced street parking to less than 200,000 places.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU