Thursday 18.07.2024 ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑ

Checks and fines for tables and chairs taking up public space

tables and chairs
29 Mar 2024 / 09:52

CORFU. The first inspections were carried out on businesses that do not have permits for the use of public space. The municipality is considering the mandatory removal of chairs on specific days.

The initial thorough inspections conducted by the Municipality of Central Corfu resulted in hefty fines for catering businesses, which set up tables and chairs without permits for the use of public space. Meanwhile, following the familiar scenes that occurred during the Sunday procession and the parade on March 25th, with disorderly chairs obstructing the passage of the Philharmonic Bands, the Municipality is taking more drastic measures.

The Deputy Mayor of Culture, Old Town, and Commerce, Kostas Vousólinos, told Enimerosi that these permits will now include the clause of mandatory removal of chairs and merchandise during specific times. He noted that this possibility is provided by relevant legislation, which the Municipality intends to enforce. "In all permits, there will be a clause for the mandatory removal of chairs and merchandise from where the processions, liturgies, and funerals pass on those days," he said. "Following the events of Sunday and Monday, documentation will be done immediately, and it will be implemented in the very near future. Even in the permits already issued, additional information will be sent, specifying when chairs and merchandise should not be set up. It is provided by law. Since there is no sense of responsibility, we must enforce it."

Businesses targeted

Meanwhile, the Municipal Inspection Committee has targeted in the first phase catering businesses that, despite setting up chairs, do not possess the relevant permit for the use of public space. A total of 30 such businesses have been identified. Out of these, only 4 - 5, for the time being at least, have arranged the payment of their debts, received municipal notification, and the relevant permit, as stated by Mr. Vousólinos.

Last week, unannounced checks were carried out at approximately 10 businesses that do not have a permit for the use of public space, resulting in hefty fines ranging from 400 to 10,000 Euros. According to the law, violators are charged double the cost of the permit corresponding to their establishment. "There was occupation of space valued at 5,000 Euros. However, the fine imposed is double the prescribed fee, resulting in the fine amounting to 10,000 Euros," said Mr. Vousólinos.

Where inspections were carried out

Thorough inspections, as part of the effort to facilitate pedestrian movement and free up public space occupied illegally, were carried out on Georgiou Theotoki Street, Mitropoleos Methodiou Street, and Polila pedestrian street. Shop owners are required, from the moment they receive the fine, to remove the chairs and other equipment (partitions, barriers, flower pots, etc.) within 7 days.

Inspections continuing

Meanwhile, the inspections for the unauthorised expansion of outdoor seating space is continuing. As Mr. Vousólinos pointed out, the three streets with the highest congestion for the residents of the old town are Evgeniou Voulgareos, Kapodistriou, and M. Theotoki, adding, however, that there is excessive outdoor seating everywhere.

 

According to the President of the Corfu Catering Association, Vassilis Vassilakis, the warning issued by the Municipality to professionals some time ago, urging them to comply by observing the limits and removing equipment not specified in the relevant permits, has been effective. However, he did not fail to point out that there are also some professionals who set up outdoor seating without obtaining the permit for various reasons (financial, tax-related). "The unfortunate thing is that not only do they not have a permit, but they haven't even made the move to submit the relevant application to obtain one. This is a significant mistake," commented Mr. Vassilakis.

Regarding the Municipality's intention to include the condition of mandatory removal of outdoor seating on specific days in these permits, he stressed that since it will be stated in the permit, the payment provided by professionals to obtain it should be adjusted to the period they will use it.

Checks begin at tourist establishments

Next week, inspections are expected to commence in tourist establishments mainly operating in the old town to determine whether the spaces occupied by goods and stalls are specified in the permits. In fact, there was a meeting between the Municipal Authority and the shopkeepers' association last week regarding this matter.

 

 

MARIA BAZDRIYIANNI

Archive photo