Lleida closes 15 streets to allow bars and restaurants expand outdoor seating
Businesses and residents call for the measure to be extended all year to reduce traffic and expand pedestrian space
The western Catalan city of Lleida, which saw some strict lockdown measures lifted this week and the return of bars and restaurants, has closed off some 15 streets in the city center to allow for the establishments to set up extra seating outdoors.
Currently, the interiors of pubs and eateries must remain closed, something which has been the cause of protest among some business owners in the last week.
Although temperatures in Lleida are expected to reach 40 degrees on Saturday, many residents didn’t hesitate to meet with family and friends on terraces that reopened in the Segrià county.
At the Beat Bar in the Cappont district, for example, closing off the Doctora Castells street allows them to expand from 7 to 23 tables outside. Residents and bar owners celebrate and welcome the measure and many of them are calling for the cutting of some streets to be extended all year round to reduce traffic and expand pedestrian spaces.
The owner of Beat Bar, Sergi Martín, explains that this "is the only measure that really helps us." In addition, by cutting the street, he adds, children can also ride bicycles, run, and people can stroll peacefully without cars.
A customer, Tomàs Martínez, also celebrates the initiative: “I think it’s great for them because the hospitality industry is having a really bad time and at least that’s how they can have customers,” he explains. “And also for us, because we wanted to meet again on the terraces,” he adds.
Joan Calluela also celebrates the initiative. "I find it very good and not just now. Some streets should be cut all year round so there is less traffic and more pedestrian space," he proposes.