Prague cracks down on outdoor seating, encourages open toilet policy

Most restaurants in Prague will need to follow new regulations for outdoor seating, but can get a discount if they open their toilets to the public. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 02.04.2023 12:01:00 (updated on 02.04.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Restaurants throughout Prague will start to open their outdoor garden seating on the streets of the city center this month, but many will need to follow new regulations targeted at reducing visual smog and excessive occupation of public space. Venues can get discount on their front gardens, however, if they open their toilets to the public.

The new regulations were originally outlined in a 2021 manual, but will come into effect on an individual basis as the city re-negotiates contracts with restaurants that utilize front garden areas. According to officials from Prague's City Hall, 109 new contracts have been signed for this spring season.

The new rules target advertising and and other signage placed in outdoor seating areas, as well as barriers that separate diners from pedestrians. Elevated walkways and electric wires running from the restaurants into their front gardens will also be regulated.

"Very often there was unauthorized advertising in the front gardens, for example various posters with photos of food," Prague city council member Kristýna Drápalová told this weekend. "And then we have a group of front gardens, mainly on [Královská street], some of which have gas and electricity piped out front and very often have higher fences than they should."

The new contracts, which have been signed in a number of waves and now cover most venues throughout the city center, also allow the city to more easily enforce their regulations. Restaurants found to be in violation of the regulations can be fined up to CZK 10,000 per day.

Restaurants pay the city between CZK 10 and CZK 50 per square meter to operate outdoor seating areas, based on the location. Old Town Square charges the highest rates (CZK 50), Wenceslas Square, Na Příkopě, and surrounding areas cost CZK 35, and locations outside of the city center run CZK 10 per square meter. If the venue is open after 10:00 p.m., they will be charged an additional 20 percent.

Under the new contracts, restaurants can also receive a discount of CZK 5 per square meter by allowing their toilets to be used by the public free of charge. With a lack of public toilets in the city center, the new contracts can provide respite for tourists if restaurants take advantage of the discount.

During the winter season from November to March, restaurants can still operate their outdoor garden areas on the city's streets, and will be charged half of the normal rate.

"I am pleased that we can continue the well-established trend of removing visual smog and the much-needed cultivation of the historic city center, which is a big part of shaping the city of the future," says Prague city councilor Adam Zábranský.

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